Indiana Nursing Home Neglect Alleged in Resident’s Fatal Shower Fall

An Indiana nursing home neglect lawsuit alleges the facility responsible for a 75-year-old amputee resident’s care failed in its duty, resulting in her death as a result of a fall in the shower. 

According to CNHI News Indiana, the resident, who had one leg, was taken to the shower by a staff member in March 2017 and left to stand on her single leg with no assistance. Nursing home staffers reportedly found her some time later on the shower floor, her leg twisted and in agony. She was diagnosed with a displaced spiral fracture of the femur, although initially, staffers decided to place her back into bed before calling 911. Her family alleges the staffers told dispatchers they did not witness the fall, but they later filed false documentation indicating they had seen the fall, which occurred because she let go of her wheelchair. She underwent surgery two days later, remained in a debilitated state for months, and then died in June 2017. That incident reportedly marked her 16th fall at the facility since she entered it two years earlier. A wrongful death lawsuit alleges her passing was a direct and proximate result of nursing home staffers’ actions and inaction, and further that state health department citations for violations of federal quality-of-care regulations are evidence of callous disregard for patient rights, safety, welfare, and dignity.

Indiana nursing home falls are a serious problem affecting elderly and disabled residents. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 1,800 older adults in nursing homes die annually from fall-related injuries. Those who do survive often suffer hip fractures and head injuries that lead to serious and permanent disabilities.

Our Highland nursing home neglect attorneys know these cases can be complex because they often fall under the umbrella of medical malpractice, as opposed to general negligence. Indiana’s medical malpractice laws have more stringent deadlines, filing requirements, and proof burdens than what is required for cases involving general negligence. These cases require the involvement of an experienced and well-resourced injury law firm with a track record of proven success in these matters.

Unfortunately, these kinds of problems are far too common. One report by the AARP indicated Indiana has the highest number of poorly performing nursing homes in the country. Only 57 of the state’s 500 nursing homes were without any deficiencies. Forty-six had been cited by the state for neglect and negligence that placed residents in immediate jeopardy for serious injuries or death.

410 IAC 16.2-0.5-1 details the rights nursing home residents have under Indiana law. These rights include:

  • The right to receive the services and/or items included in your plan of care.
  • The right to be treated with respect and dignity, which includes freedom from abuse, neglect or maltreatment, involuntary seclusion, and chemical restraints.
  • The right to a safe, clean, comfortable, and homelike environment.
  • The right to voice grievances without fear of discrimination or reprisal.

When a nursing home patient suffers a fall, it is a form of neglect because nursing homes owe a legal duty of care to ensure their patients are properly cared for and supervised. Many patients are fall risks, and facilities have a responsibility to ensure they have appropriate assistance in carrying out their daily activities and that every reasonable measure is taken to prevent the foreseeable risk of falls.

Indiana Injury Attorney Burton A. Padove handles personal injury claims throughout northern Indiana, including Highland, Gary and Hammond. Call Toll Free 877-446-5294.

Additional Resources:

Aperion Care Kokomo hit with wrongful death lawsuit after patient falls in shower, March 1, 2018, By Carson Gerber, CNHI News Indiana

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Quadriplegic Wins $35M Verdict in Indiana DUI Crash; Whether He Can Collect is Uncertain, Jan. 17, 2018, Highland Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog