Jury Awards Woman $4 Million in Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
Details of the Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
According to the Dothan Eagle, the lawsuit was filed on behalf of Karen Hughes, executor of her father Thomas Doster’s estate. The estate ultimately received $4 million for punitive damages against Nolan Hospital, a long-term care facility.
The lawsuit was filed after 77-year-old Thomas Doster was found on the floor in the hospital he resided after a fall in September of 2007 – Doster died within 12 hours of being found. Doster was supposed to be in restraints due to his previous falls, according to medical records and a state investigation
The jury’s verdict showed that the hospital facility did breach the standard care by leaving Doster unrestrained, and was responsible for Doster’s death.
The hospital tried to defend itself by claiming those records were in fact wrong, arguing that the word “fall” has a different definition in the medical context, and that Doster’s death was nothing more than a coincidence.
Nursing Home Negligence and Abuse
According to Masters in Health Care:
- Abuse or negligence is experienced in nearly one-third of all nursing homes.
- In 2005, more than 91% of all American nursing homes were cited for at least deficiency following health inspections.
- Data collected in 1999 suggested as many as 5,000 deaths occurred in a single year due to nursing home negligence. Causes of death included starvation, dehydration, and bedsores.
- It is estimated that only 20% of nursing home abuse cases are reported.