Nursing homes are no stranger to death. Many of the residents are seriously ill or suffering from age-related health conditions. However, we never want anyone to die in a nursing home from anything other than natural causes. Unfortunately, a resident of California nursing home did suffer a premature death. In this case, nursing home abuse ended with a $42.5 million verdict against the facility.
The Eskaton Case
In 2012, Barbara Lovenstein entered the Eskaton FountainWoods nursing home for short-term rehabilitation. The 77-year-old woman had dementia and epilepsy. Her doctor had prescribed the drug Ativan to be used only when Lovenstein suffered seizure-like problems.
After a few days, the nursing home staff felt Ms. Lovenstein was agitated and began giving her Ativan every day. They eventually asked Lovenstein’s primary doctor for an order allowing them to continue the daily Ativan dose. The doctor denied their request. The staff ignored the doctor and continued administering Ativan at 6:00 am every day.
One month after admission, Lovenstein’s sister noticed she was unable to recognize her family, was limp, and could barely walk. The sister decided to move Ms. Lovenstein from the nursing home. Unfortunately, before she could do so, Ms. Lovenstein choked on some food due to her weakened state and developed aspiration pneumonia. Less than two months after her admission to Eskaton, Ms. Lovenstein died.
This case of nursing home abuse led Ms. Lovenstein’s family to file a lawsuit against Eskaton FountainWood. The nursing home staff failed to follow the doctor’s orders and gave daily doses of Ativan that caused Ms. Lovenstein’s death. At trial, the jury awarded the plaintiffs $7 million in compensatory damages and $35 million in punitive damages.
An Illinois Nursing Home’s Responsibility
Does nursing home abuse involving the misuse of drugs happen in Illinois nursing homes? According to the Illinois Administrative Code, “medications shall be administered as ordered by the licensed prescriber and at the designated time.” However, nursing homes may fail to follow orders, especially if understaffed.
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Care Financing Administration regulate nursing homes. The IDPH publishes quarterly reports of nursing home violators, including homes that violate drug orders.
Talk to an Illinois Attorney Who Understands Nursing Home Neglect
At Osvaldo Rodriguez, PC, we have over 20 years’ experience helping clients with nursing home neglect and abuse. Schedule a free initial consultation with Osvaldo Rodriguez, a lawyer who has dedicated his career to assisting people like you. Just call us at 708-716-3441 or fill out the Contact form on our website. We represent clients throughout the state of Illinois, including Chicago, Addison, Bellwood, Bensenville, Berwyn, Chicago, Cicero, Elmwood Park, Franklin Park, Maywood, Melrose Park, Northlake, and all of Cook County, Lake County, Kane County, DuPage County, and Will County.
Mr. Rodriguez is fluent in both Spanish and English.