Residents of nursing homes often have a long list of medications that they must take and the responsibility of maintaining these medicines falls to the staff. Most nursing homes have procedures in place to have the utmost assurances that those in their care are receiving the medications that their doctors have prescribed. Sometimes, even the best procedures can have things fall through the cracks. Recently, a jury determined that a nursing home was liable for the stroke a woman suffered when they discontinued her blood-thinner medication. The Daily Herald reports on the verdict and the award.
The case dates back to 2011.
Then 85-year-old Delores Trendel was transferred to Bartlett-based Claire Oaks nursing home after fracturing her hip in a fall.
In March, a blood test revealed that Trendel required more of the blood-thinner Coumadin to prevent clotting and a stroke. However, instead of increasing her medication, the nursing home discontinued it for 14 days.
On March 30, Trendel began displaying symptoms of a stroke and was transferred to St. Alexius where physicians determined that she had suffered a stroke. The stroke led to right-side weakness and diminished her quality of life.
In the court case that followed, a jury awarded the family of Trendel a $4.1 million-dollar verdict. The family’s attorney argued that the staff of Claire Oaks failed to recognize their mistake despite polices indicating that there was a daily audit of patient prescriptions.
After the jury’s verdict, a secondary process kicked in to determine the nursing home’s financial responsibility in the family’s legal fees.
A provision in the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act makes facilities responsible for legal fees in cases where they are found to be liable.
A judge awarded the attorneys an additional $1.4 million through this provision.
A spokesperson for the nursing home stated that they intended to appeal the verdict.