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Jury grants $1.77M award in nursing home neglect case

One of the saddest aspects of nursing home neglect cases in Pittsburgh is how quickly it can affect the resident's health. While most people who move into a nursing home do so because they cannot live independently anymore, they often are still able to do some things for themselves such as walk and bathe themselves. But when residents receive poor care, their condition often deteriorates, sometimes within a matter of months or weeks.

One man who lived in another state provides a sad example of the effects of nursing home neglect. When he moved into a nursing home in 2008, he was living with end stage senile dementia, but was still able to shower, shave and feed himself, as well as walk and talk. But by the time the man, a former professional wrestler, was moved out of the facility just 63 days later, he was not able to do any of those things.

A photograph taken shortly before the move showed him weakened, 30 pounds lighter and disoriented. He died two weeks later.

During a civil trial against the nursing home, an attorney representing the man's widow described a pattern of poor treatment performed by the staff. Aides lost his dentures but tried to feed him pork chops anyway. They also lost his shoes and stuffed his feet into shoes that were two sizes too small. They also withheld information from his wife. Officials did not tell her that her husband had fallen out of his wheelchair until four days later. Another time, they claimed that bandages on his feet and rear end were for "blisters."

After considering the evidence, the jury in the personal injury case returned a verdict of $1,775,000, one of the largest-ever awards in a nursing home neglect case in that state. However, the widow said it would not do much to comfort her loss.

Source: The Palm Beach Post, "Jury awards widow nearly $2 million for husband's 2008 death in Lake Worth nursing home," Daphne Duret, Nov. 20, 2012

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