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Wrongful Death And Survival Action For Lack Of Appropriate Safeguards

Lawsuit Against Westminster Healthcare Center | April 10, 2020

On April 10, 2020, WVFO attorneys Keith Forman and Cecilia Lavrin filed a medical malpractice claim on behalf of the family and estate of a woman who died as a result of the defendants’ failure to implement appropriate safeguards.

The complaint alleges that the patient was a 90-year-old woman with established comorbidities of hypertension, hyperlipidemia, noninsulin dependent diabetes, paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, hypothyroidism, and myelodysplastic syndrome. She was on anticoagulation therapy for prevention of thrombi due to her atrial fibrillation. She was a resident at Westminster Health Care Center on September 6, 2017 for rehabilitation after being hospitalized at Sinai Hospital for treatment of respiratory distress. At the time of her assessment on September 7, 2017 she was assessed as being weak and in need of physical therapy as a result of her recent hospitalization. It was documented that she was on anticoagulant therapy and that precaution had to be taken to prevent her from falling and further documented that she was at risk of falls related to weakness.

Subsequent assessments revealed that she would be at a significant risk of a fall if she was not substantially assisted in all physical activities. On September 12, 2017, she suffered a fall with an injury to her left hip and groin after she was “observed sliding from her wheelchair.” Employees of Westminster Healthcare then incorrectly documented in the Fall Risk Observation Tool that she was “ambulatory without assistance” with a normal gait, able to stand and walk, and maintain body alignment, with a score which placed her at a low risk of a fall. That same day there was further inaccurate documentation that the resident was able to get to a bathroom and transfer to the toilet “independently, but slowly.” In the days thereafter, there was little consistent documentation of any effective strategies being employed to prevent the patient from either suffering a fall or to prevent her from being injured as a result. On September 30, 2017, the patient was found on the floor having suffered another fall. Again, it appeared that she had slipped from her wheelchair. Prior to this fall she had been left in her wheelchair for several hours. Despite several requests that she be placed back into bed by family who had been present during the evening, employees of Westminster Healthcare failed to act. Early the next morning, the patient was found without vital signs and pronounced dead. It was determined that she had suffered a brain hemorrhage.

The lawsuit alleges, among other things, that the defendants negligently failed to implement appropriate safeguards for the patient, and that this negligence caused the patient’s death.

The action is pending in the Circuit Court for Carroll County, Maryland.

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