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ARTICLE ID 195532

$________ CONFIDENTIAL – MEDICAL MALPRACTICE – NURSING HOME NEGLIGENCE – FAILURE TO TIMELY DIAGNOSE AND TREAT ISCHEMIC OPTIC NEUROPATHY – 82-YEAR-OLD DECEDENT DIED OF SUFFOCATION WHEN SHE BECAME TRAPPED BETWEEN MATTRESS AND SIDE RAIL OF BED.

Withheld County, MA

In this nursing home negligence matter, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant nursing home and its staff was negligent in failing to properly and timely care and treat the decedent who died as a result of suffocation. The decedent became trapped between the mattress and side rail of her bed and could not breathe. The defendant denied causation, and maintained that the resident’s death was unrelated to the care provided by its staff.

The 82-year-old decedent was living independently prior to this incident. She came under the care of the defendant physician for left sided ear, neck, and head pain. The defendant diagnosed the patient with ischemic optic neuropathy, but did not order any diagnostic testing to confirm this diagnosis. This condition can cause a rapid onset of blindness, which is what occurred in this matter within days of the diagnosis. The blindness caused the patient to be admitted to the defendant nursing home, where orders were placed that the half-rails on the decedent’s bed were to remain raised due to safety concerns surrounding her lack of vision. The plaintiff contended that the mattress was not compatible with raised side rails, and created a safety issue that was never addressed by the defendant nursing home. On September 19, ________, the patient used her call button to summon the defendant’s nursing staff. No one responded in a timely manner. The decedent became trapped between the side rail and mattress, ultimately suffocating. She was found by the defendant’s staff with her lower body on the floor and her head trapped between the side rail. The plaintiff brought suit against the defendant physician alleging negligence in failing to properly diagnose and treat the patient’s eye condition, which resulted in blindness. The plaintiff brought suit against the nursing home alleging that it was negligent in failing to ensure the safety of the patient and respond in a timely manner to the call button.

The defendants denied the allegations and disputed causation and damages. The defendants argued that the decedent’s death was unrelated to the incident, and there was no deviation from acceptable standards of care.

The matter was resolved between the parties for the sum of $________ in a confidential settlement agreement between the parties prior to the trial in this matter.

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