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Monday, April 30, 2007

She didn’t fall that far: A nursing home lawsuit

Joy’s story:

My Mom was in a nursing home & fell. They called me, & said it was OK during the night, to come in the morning. When I got there I couldn't believe it! - she looked like she was in a fight with Mike Tyson & lost. She's 93, had a big hematoma on head - eyes all black, nose broken, really bad. I asked why 911 was not called to take X-rays. They said the doctor didn't feel it was necessary. I fought with them for 2 days. Then they called & said she was sent to hospital "unresponsive." EM couldn't believe what bad shape she was in & never brought in. She was never the same.

I got a lawyer; he took pictures & we have waited. He calls today & says the nursing home has problems with their Insurance & want us to settle for $25,000; she gets $15,000. He said to take it because of the Insurance problem. A friend of my husband’s father had the same thing happen, only he died; same lawyer, same pitch - $25,000 and they get $15,000. Is that the going rate after what they suffered?!

This lawyer wants to go after the nursing home she's in now since after she was sent to the ER from the other nursing home & kept in the hospital, they asked if I wanted her in the nursing home next to the hospital, actually their name too. I checked it out and it seemed very clean, so I said yes. At this point she was all banged up but could walk.

She was admitted & a very short time later I got a call: “your mother fell!” I couldn't believe it. Back to the hospital, this time with a broken hip. She's 93 so I didn't agree to surgery, & the doctor said she probably won't last till the end of the year (he was wrong). But she never walked again & is in pain; she takes painkillers, & is usually in bed.

I couldn't go after them because where do I put my Mom then? The lawyer said, when she passes he can go after them but I don't think I will pick him.

What advice would I tell other daughters? I'm not a great one to ask. I had my Mom since she was in her 50's. It wasn't easy - she liked to run the show & be in charge, but was very good-natured. She didn't have much money since my Dad died young from a cerebral hemorrhage & botched-up brain operation. She took care of him for 5 years. It was terrible - we were only teens.

She was not in great health when we moved to Florida & declined, but I kept her at home & took care of her. At the same time, I raised my grandson, who had chronic Lyme disease, & took care of him. My daughter, his mom, is bi-polar & winds up living with us a lot. My husband is a big help (2nd one) but otherwise I got no help. My brother & his wife felt it was up to the daughter to do it.

I got through it, thank God, though I’m very tired, & my husband & I never got to go anywhere very much. It wasn't easy but I always felt it would be what God wanted me to do.

As far as the 2 nursing homes, the first didn't really care. I fought with them for 2 days as she laid suffering all bashed up with a broken nose, etc., to send her to the hospital. The other one seems to make her comfortable but is responsible for the broken hip. When I mentioned it the woman said she didn't fall that far!

Probably too long but that's only a bit of it.

Advice to adult children of frail elderly parents: Get a formal consult with an expert with professional training in pain relief (a nurse or doctor) to discuss options for pain relief.

Read another of our nursing home stories.

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