Resident dies from dehydration after nine-day stay at nursing home

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Case in Point

December 21, 2010

Resident dies from dehydration after nine-day stay at nursing home 

The man’s estate alleged that the nursing home was understaffed and failed to provide adequate hydration and prevent bed sores. The jury awarded the plaintiff $42.75 million, including $40 million in punitive damages. Offutt v. HBR Madisonville LLC.

Joseph Offutt, 92, was admitted to Harborside Healthcare-Madisonville Rehabilitation and Nursing Center after he suffered a stroke. At the time of the admission, Offutt required a feeding tube and had a blister on his heel. He was otherwise alert and oriented.

Five days later, he developed additional sores on his body and staff could not rouse him. By the eighth day, Offutt had become profoundly dehydrated. He was transferred to a hospital, where he died two days later of causes related to dehydration. Offutt is survived by his wife and four adult children.

Offutt’s estate sued the nursing home, alleging understaffing, failure to provide adequate hydration, and failure to prevent bed sores.

The jury awarded $42.75 million, including $40 million in punitive damages.

Citation: Offutt v. HBR Madisonville LLC, No. 09CI529 (Ky., Hopkins Co. Cir. Nov. 16, 2010).

Plaintiff counsel: AAJ member Lisa Circeo, Lexington, Kentucky, and A. Lance Reins, Tampa.


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