ManorCare Fall Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Towson

Critzer v. ManorCare of Towson, LLC

(Filed August 23, 2016)
03C16009637

Person walking with cane This is a nursing home fall lawsuit filed on behalf of a man in Baltimore County. This case was filed in Health Claims Arbitration on August 23, 2016. It is the 420th medical malpractice case filed in 2016 in Maryland.

Summary of Plaintiff's Allegations

The decedent is admitted to MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital with increased agitation and inability of the family to care for her at home. In the ER, the staff finds her to be disoriented and agitated, with mild congestion found via a chest X-ray. She is found to be at high risk for falls, and preventative interventions are given including frequent monitoring, low bed, and chair/bed alarms.

She stays at the hospital for three days and is then discharged to ManorCare. Upon discharge, she is alert, and her medications include Mirtazapine, Amlodipine, Aspirin, and Senna. On admission to ManorCare, decedent's exam finds that she requires assistance in all activities of daily living, even more extensive in bed mobility and transfer, is incontinent of bowel and bladder, and has an unsteady gait and balance as well as difficulty swallowing. However, there is other documentation that notes she is independent in bed mobility and eating, and just needed assistance in other activities.

A mental exam indicates inattention, altered level of consciousness, and mental status fluctuation as well as a wheelchair needed for transport due to unsteady gait and muscle weakness. No plan of care is created or implement to address her condition. No precautions are implemented in response to her known fall risk. Within two and a half hours of her admission to ManorCare, she wanders out of her room and falls. A staff member later finds her laying on the floor and calls 911. When the Fire Department arrives, they find her laying on the ground, and transport her to St. Joseph Medical Center.

When decedent arrives at St. Joseph Medical Center, they find a 4 cm laceration above her left eyebrow. A brain CT finds a bilateral subarachnoid hemorrhage and a subdural hematoma. She also has borderline troponin elevation and an elevated myoglobin level which indicates muscle damage.

The following day decedent has another head CT is was done which reveals an unchanged bilateral posterior parietal subarachnoid hemorrhage & left temporoparietal cortical, right frontal subcortical hemorrhagic contusion, and decrease in the size of a small left parietal subdural hemorrhage. While she is at St. Joseph's, decedent suffers poor oral intake and has acute kidney injury due to hypovolemia.

After a week, the decedent is transferred to Stella Maris inpatient hospice, with bilateral subarachnoid hemorrhage, left parietotemporal subdural hematoma, bilateral subcortical contusions, and scalp laceration post sutures. Two days later, decedent passes away, with a cause of death listed as "subarachnoid hemorrhage status post fall; and subdural hematoma."

Her estate files a claim on her behalf, alleging that had defendants complied with the standard of care for a fall risk patient, she would not have fallen and would not have subsequently died from the injuries she sustained during her fall.

Additional Comments
  • We have always said that falls and bedsore are the most common nursing home lawsuits filed in Maryland. Our law firm actually gets more bedsore injury and death cases than we do fall cases. But a random walk through nursing home lawsuits in Maryland makes clear that more than half of the nursing home claims filed in Maryland are fall cases.
Jurisdiction
  • Baltimore County
Defendants
  • ManorCare of Towson, LLC
  • Five registered nurses
Hospitals Where Patient was Treated
  • Medstar Good Samaritan Hospital
  • St. Joseph Medical Center
Negligence
  • Failure to timely & properly assess decedent on admission for fall risks
  • Failure to have adequate fall prevention care plan & failure to take necessary steps to prevent decedent from falling
Specific Counts Pled
  • Negligence - Survival Claim
  • Wrongful Death Claim
Plaintiff's Experts and Areas of Specialty
  • Jacob Dimant, M.D. - licensed physician, board-certified in field of Internal Medicine, subspecialty board certification in Rheumatology and added qualifications in Geriatric Medicine
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