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Medical malpractice suspected in dementia patient's death

One can only imagine how difficult it is to watch a parent suffer mental decline due to dementia. Often, adult children in Texas must entrust the care of a parent to nursing home staff or other assisted-living facilities. An incident that occurred in 2014 in another state will now be scrutinized in court as a woman has blamed her mother's death on medical malpractice from resulted nursing negligence.

The 68-year-old mother was a patient at the nursing home where staff members were reportedly aware she had a history of falling. In fact, on one occasion, the woman fell so hard she suffered a severe hematoma, resulting in substantial blood loss. Before that particular incident, staff members had rigged an alarm to alert them whenever the woman fell; strangely enough, the alarm had been disconnected when her serious injury occurred, and it was not reconnected after she was hurt.

On the day the woman died, she was found with her knees on a floor mat, and her head in a twisted position, leaning against the bedside. The coroner ruled that the direct cause of death was positional asphyxia. Nursing home officials, however, allegedly told the daughter her mother had died from natural consequences after falling out of bed.

The coroner reportedly informed the daughter that at least three separate accounts were offered by the staff regarding what happened that day. As might happen in Texas under similar circumstances, the daughter has filed a medical malpractice lawsuit alleging  that a pattern of neglect caused her mother to die. The claim further asserts that staff members were well aware of the fact that the woman was prone to falling and could have easily taken steps to protect her.

Source: arkansasonline.com, "Lawsuit accuses Little Rock nursing home of negligence in 68-year-old's death", Brandon Riddle, Nov. 4, 2016

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