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$400,000 Brockton Nursing Home Abuse Verdict Awarded to Stepdaughter of 93-Year-Old Deceased Man

A Plymouth Superior Court jury has awarded a $400,000 Brockton nursing home abuse verdict to 76-year-old Marlene Owens, who is the only living relative of John J. Donahue. The 93-year-old nursing home resident died in 2005 after he lost his eye during an accident at Embassy Rehabilitation and Health Center and developed sepsis.

Donahue’s eye was removed more than 18 hours after a metal safety hook on the Hoyer lift that a female nursing home worker was using to transfer him out of his bed gouged it. According to the state, two people are supposed to operate the device when moving a patient. Donahue died 47 days later.

While the jury did not find Kindred Healthcare, the then-owner of the Brockton assisted living facility, liable for Donahue’s Plymouth County wrongful death, they did find the defendant liable for his eye injury. The $400,000 award is for his pain, suffering, and disfigurement.

However, obtaining Brockton nursing home abuse recovery for the elderly man’s personal injuries was not easy. In 2003, a few years prior to his passing, Donahue had signed a “voluntary” agreement giving up his right to sue the assisted living facility for personal injury or wrongful death. By signing the agreement, Donahue had agreed to resolve such disputes through arbitration. Last year, a judge invalidated the arbitration agreement because Donahue was already suffering from delusions when he signed it.

Massachusetts nursing home workers are supposed to follow proper procedures when moving patients from their beds or wheelchairs or when helping them walk to the bathroom or another destination. The reason these procedures are in place is to prevent Boston injury accidents from happening. Many nursing home patients already are in poor health and injuries can cause serious health complications, even death. Failure to abide by such procedures and regulations can be grounds for a Boston nursing home neglect case.

Stepdaughter wins $400G over nursing home abuse, Boston Herald, August 15, 2010
Brockton jury awards $400,000 in Embassy nursing-home accident, PatriotLedger, August 14, 2010

Related Web Resources:
How to Use a Hoyer Lift to Transfer a Patient, eHow
Massachusetts Department of Public Health