Bedsores and Severe Neglect Lead to Nursing Home Death, First NY Nursing Home Lawsuit to Award Punitive Damages

Survivors of a 76-year-old nursing home patient who died of bedsores from nursing home neglect was awarded $18.7M by a New York jury a few days before the new year. The nursing home lawsuit was filed by the family of John Danzy, the deceased, after their father died in a Brooklyn nursing home.

Danzy died in 2003 of an infection the nursing home neglect lawsuit claims was caused by nursing home bedsores. In his short nine months’ stay, Danzy, according to the lawsuit, developed more than 20 nursing home bedsores on his body when the family removed him from the environment of neglect and into a better home.

Most often caused by gross neglect, bedsores (also called “decubitus ulcers”) are caused when nursing home residents are forced, or allowed, to lie motionless for extended periods of time. What happens is the pressure of a resident’s motionless body starts to prevent blood flow and starve the tissues under pressure, causing tissue death (“necrosis” in medical terms). Most common in the bony areas of the body (lower back, hips, elbows, knees, heels, and hips), bedsores are the result of severe tissue damage.

This marks the first nursing home lawsuit in the state to award punitive damages. Danzy’s daughter states that her father lost nearly a hundred pounds during his few short months. The jury awarded $3.75M for Danzy’s pain and suffering and added $15M in punitive damages against the nursing home for allegations of doctoring records to cover up the neglect. (B’s for “broken skin” had been doctored to appear G’ for “good,” according to the nursing home lawyer’s FBI expert.)

The nursing home allegedly used physical restraints to keep Danzy, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, from wandering off. Medical standards require that a restrained patient be moved every two hours to prevent bedsores.

This Tennessee Law Blog brought to you by Attorney Jim Higgins and my Nashville, TN nursing home abuse legal team.

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