April 30, 2019, PNLR News
Failure to prevent pressure sores
The estate of a woman who developed a stage IV pressure sore on her heel sued the skilled nursing facility that had treated her, alleging failure to provide adequate care, ensure adequate staffing, and prevent her pressure sores. The jury awarded $11 million, including $6 million in punitive damages. Collado v. Fiesta Park Healthcare, L.L.C.
Esther Collado, 88, fell at home and broke her hip. After undergoing surgery, she was discharged to The Medical Resort at Fiesta Park, a skilled nursing facility. A Medical Resort employee, not a nurse, created a care plan for Collado, who was at risk of pressure ulcers due to her immobility, diabetes, and mild dementia. Less than a week later, Collado was discharged without formal instructions.
A home caregiver discovered that Collado had pressure sores on both heels, and a wound care nurse provided services over the next several weeks. Nevertheless, Collado was admitted to a hospital, where she was diagnosed as having sepsis and a stage IV pressure sore on her left heel. This led to swallowing difficulties that necessitated insertion of a PEG tube.
After several months in the hospital, Collado was discharged to her home. She continued to suffer from health issues and was bedbound until her death more than a year later. Collado is survived by her husband and their four children.
Collado’s estate sued The Medical Resort at Fiesta Park and Enchanted Health Development, L.L.C., and WW Management, LLC, which had service agreements with each other or The Medical Resort. The plaintiff alleged that, among other things, the defendants failed to provide adequate care to Collado, assess her heels, ensure adequate staffing, document the care provided to Collado, and prevent her pressure sores.
The jury awarded $11 million, including $6 million in punitive damages. The jury apportioned liability at 70 percent to The Medical Resort, 20 percent to WW Management, and 10 percent to Enchanted Health.
Citation: Collado v. Fiesta Park Healthcare, L.L.C., No. D-202-CV-2016-02017 (N.M. Dist. Ct. Bernalillo Cnty. Jan. 22, 2019).
Plaintiff counsel: AAJ members Jeffrey A. Pitman, Patrick C. O’Neill, and Benjamin E. Reyes, all of Milwaukee; and AAJ member Feliz Rael, Albuquerque.
Plaintiff expert: Lance Youles, nursing homes, Canton, Mich.