Lipkin & Higgins was contacted by the widow of a man who developed Sepsis-a severe systemic infection, while a resident at a nursing home, and died several days later. The man had been in the nursing home for ten months, following a stroke. While infection free at that time, he had a number of significant chronic illnesses that rendered him wheelchair bound for several years: COPD, congestive heart failure, diabetes and dementia. He was fed through a gastronomy tube inserted into his stomach. He was dependent on nursing home staff for all of his feeding, bathing, dressing and personal needs.
After experiencing a high fever and becoming lethargic the nursing home ordered lab testing and x-rays on a “stat” (immediate) basis. Several hours later the tests had not been performed and the resident’s condition further deteriorated. At no time was he diagnosed with an infection, given antibiotics, or was his doctor contacted. Finally, after becoming less responsive, he was sent by ambulance to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with sepsis and pneumonia, and placed on intravenous (IV) antibiotics.
Treatment, however, proved ineffective and the resident soon died. A lawsuit was filed under the Wrongful Death Act, under which compensation goes to the next of kin, in this case the widow and 3 adult children. At a Mediation, the nursing home offered only $20,000.00, and thereafter the case was actively litigated. Following depositions of several nursing home staff and testimony by our nursing expert and doctor expert, the nursing home raised its offer tenfold, and the case settled.