September 2009 Archives

Non-ambulatory patients residing in nursing homes are at risk of developing pressure sores on their heel and ankle areas as a result of unrelieved pressure and friction.

Once these sores develop, it can be difficult to achieve healing and avoid potentially painful and fatal complications including sepsis (blood infection), osteomyelitis (bone infection), amputation, surgical wound debridement and even ultimately death.

It is therefore critical that nursing homes develop and implement wound prevention care plans and perform risk assessments at the time of admission.  In addition to daily monitoring and regular skin assessments, the nursing home staff must ensure that pressure and friction in the heel and ankle areas are reduced and relieved.  This may be accomplished as simply as through the use of pillows to offload the heels.  The nursing home staff must, however, be on the lookout for patient movement that may displace the pillow.  Other preventative measures include heel protectors, boots and pressure relieving mattresses.  Heel protectors may help to provide continuous pressure relief, and also act to minimize friction and shear on feet, ankles and heels. 

Families must be advocates for their loved ones and they should be on alert for these issues and regularly visit the nursing home resident and inspect their skin.  Families should also discuss preventative heel ulcer care with the nursing home staff.  As the saying goes, "the squeaky wheel gets the grease."

In our practice, we have seen the tragic results of the failure of nursing homes to implement effective and proper heel pressure ulcer prevention protocols.  In one situation, a vulnerable, mentally challenged individual was admitted to the nursing home with no skin breakdown for short-term rehabilitation services.  He had previously resided in a group home environment and was able to participate in an adult day program.  The plan was for him to return to his previous living arrangements and level of functioning upon his discharge from the nursing home.    During his stay at the nursing home, he did not receive visits from family members.  He was not provided with heel ulcer preventative care and, unfortunately, developed a heel wound that became infected and necrotic, and progressed to stage 4.  He went on to develop severe osteomyelitis of his heel.  In an effort to prevent the potentially fatal spread of osteomyelitis, doctors performed an above-the-knee amputation of his leg.  Sadly, this mentally challenged individual became bed-ridden, requiring permanent nursing home care and never returned to his previous level of functioning.

The good news is that heel pressure ulcers are entirely avoidable so long as proper care and preventative measures are instituted and implemented by the nursing home.  Under new Medicare guidelines, hospitals are no longer even reimbursed for additional care resulting from pressure ulcers as the government has determined that development of bed sores at a hospital is a so-called "never event."

Please feel free to contact the nursing home neglect attorneys at Dever & Feldstein, LLC at (888) 825-9119 for a free consultation if you believe that a family member or loved one has sustained serious injury or wrongful death as a result of bed sores (also known as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers), nursing home falls, dehydration/malnutrition, medication error/prescription mistake, elder abuse or elder neglect.

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We frequently speak with families who wish to have potential nursing home negligence cases investigated while their family member or loved one simultaneously continues to reside in the target nursing home.  A typical scenario involves a nursing home resident who develops bedsores (also known as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers) during their stay at the nursing home.  The family eventually learns of the wounds and become frustrated as they continually find that their loved one: (1) has soiled themselves, and is dirty and not receiving adequate hygiene care; (2) has not been repositioned or turned; (3) is not receiving adequate hydration and nutrition; (3) is being left in a wheelchair or a Geri-chair without being repositioned for long periods of time; and/or (4) is not receiving regular wound care or medical attention.  The family complains to the nursing home staff regarding these issues, but their complaints are ignored.  The resident's bedsores continue to get worse, become infected and progress to stage 3 and then stage 4.  The resident is in and out of the hospital for wound care, wound debridement and treatment of osteomyelitis (bone infection) and sepsis (blood infection), and then transferred back to the nursing home.

We counsel families faced with these difficult circumstances to focus on the health and immediate well-being  and safety of their loved one.  Putting aside the merits of any potential lawsuit, a family considering suing a nursing home has obviously lost complete confidence in the nursing home's ability to care for their loved one.  As such, in a perfect world, the family should try to locate alternative care arrangements and have the resident transferred as soon as possible.  Everyone knows, however, that the world is far from perfect and that it can be extremely challenging to locate alternative care for many reasons including health insurance coverage issues, Medicare or Medicaid coverage issues, and/or the location of the facility.

In those circumstances where it is not feasible to move the patient, the family should be very careful that the nursing home does not become aware that a potential lawsuit is being investigated so that the patient's care is not compromised.  In these circumstances, our law firm may request medical records from outside hospitals and wound care centers in order to obtain additional information regarding the patient's condition and prognosis.  Based upon the information contained in the medical records, our firm's lawyers can help further counsel the family through this difficult situation in a manner that protects the resident from potential harm.  In the right circumstances, the family may also be directed to request medical records from the nursing home in order to help further facilitate the investigation. 

At the end of the day, these are very difficult issues and each circumstance must be evaluated and treated on a case-by-case basis.  The first concern must always be the health, safety and well-being of the nursing home resident.  The potential lawsuit is secondary and appropriate steps should be taken to ensure that the nursing home resident's health and safety are not jeopardized. 

Please feel free to contact the nursing home neglect lawyers at Dever & Feldstein, LLC at (888) 825-9119 for a free consultation if you believe that a family member or loved one has sustained serious injury or wrongful death as a result of bed sores (also known as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers), nursing home falls, dehydration/malnutrition, medication administration error/prescription mistake, elder abuse or elder neglect.

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It can be difficult for Plaintiffs' attorneys to obtain timely discovery responses from Defendants in nursing home negligence cases.  It is not uncommon for months to elapse before Plaintiffs' counsel is able to even receive responses to written discovery and documents requests from the nursing home's lawyers. 

Maryland Rule 2-424, entitled "Admission of acts and genuineness of documents," provides Plaintiffs' lawyers with a powerful discovery tool that can help streamline the issues in the case in the early phases of litigation.  This Rule requires a party to admit or deny the truth of matters of fact set forth in separate requests for admission.  Importantly, a party must file responses to requests for admission of facts within thirty (30) days or the request shall be deemed admitted.  See Maryland Rule 2-424(b).  Nursing home defendants are therefore forced to take a position on various factual issues at the outset of the case before their attorneys and in-house risk managers have an opportunity to fully evaluate the issues.  In the event that defense counsel does not file timely responses, the value of the case can potentially increase. 

Our firm regularly serves Defendant nursing homes with detailed Requests for Admission of Facts along with the Complaint and initial pleadings in all of our nursing home neglect cases.  These requests cover a range of important topics such as: (1) ensuring that the proper corporate entities have been named as Defendants; (2) ensuring that the healthcare providers at issue are employees or agents of the Defendants; and (3) ensuring that information contained in medical records or other documents is accurate.  Detailed requests for admission of facts also force defense lawyers to focus on and evaluate the factual circumstances of the case at an early stage and may help to facilitate early mediation or settlement.

A sample set of Requests for Admission of Facts in a nursing home neglect bedsore/pressure sore/decubitus ulcer wrongful death lawsuit follows:

1. [Insert name of defendant] owns [insert name of nursing home facility].
2. [Insert name of defendant] operates [insert name of nursing home facility].
3. [Insert name of defendant] owned [insert name of nursing home facility] during the time period of [insert time period at issue in case].
4. [Insert name of defendant] operated [insert name of nursing home facility] during the time period of [insert time period at issue in case].
5. All of the individuals at [insert name of nursing home facility] who participated in the care provided to Plaintiff during his stay in [insert dates] as alleged in the Complaint were acting on behalf of and within the scope of their employment and/or agency with [insert name of Defendant].
6. On or about [insert date], Plaintiff was transferred to [insert name of nursing home facility] for short-term rehabilitation.
7. At the time of his admission to [insert name of nursing home facility], Plaintiff was examined by the admitting nurse who noted that his skin integrity was intact with no  skin breakdown, wounds or pressure ulcers.
8. At the time of his admission to [insert name of nursing home facility], Plaintiff was examined by the admitting nurse and noted to have no pressure wounds or decubitus ulcers on his sacrum.
9. At the time of his admission to [insert name of nursing home facility], Plaintiff was examined by the admitting nurse and noted to have no pressure wounds or decubitus ulcers on his sacrum or elsewhere on his body.
10. Around the time of Plaintiff's admission to [insert name of nursing home facility] a nurse completed a Braden scale for Plaintiff indicating that he was at mild risk for developing future pressure wounds or decubitus ulcers.
11. Physician orders at the time of admission to [insert name of nursing home facility] called for the nursing staff to reposition and turn Plaintiff every two hours and perform a full body inspection every week.
12. Over the next several months, [insert name of nursing home facility] failed to reposition Plaintiff every two hours and/or perform a full body inspection every week, as ordered by his physicians.
13. Over the next few months, the family found Plaintiff in soiled undergarments that had not been changed for long periods of time. 
14. On or about [insert date], nurses at [insert name of nursing home facility] documented that [Plaintiff] was suffering from a stage II sacral decubitus ulcer.
15. On or about [insert date], nurses at [insert name of nursing home facility] documented that [Plaintiff] was suffering from a stage III decubitus ulcer on his buttocks.
16. Plaintiff's sacral decubitus ulcer subsequently grew larger and became infected.
17. Plaintiff developed additional decubitus ulcers on his left buttocks and left heel.
18. Plaintiff was not assessed by a dietician at [insert name of nursing home facility].
19. Plaintiff was evaluated by the wound care team at [insert name of hospital] and diagnosed with a stage IV sacral decubitus ulcer.
20. Plaintiff was evaluated by the wound care team at [insert name of hospital] and diagnosed with a stage IV sacral decubitus ulcer with purulent drainage, necrosis, and deep tunneling.
21. Hospital records dated [insert date] indicate that doctors advised Plaintiff's family that his sacral decubitus would likely never heal and would require chronic care.
22. Plaintiff was ultimately discharged from [insert name of hospital] on [insert date] and transferred to [insert name of facilty].
23. Over the next six months, Plaintiff continued to suffer from his stage IV sacral ulcer and related complications.
24. Over the next six months, Plaintiff continued to suffer from his stage IV sacral ulcer and related complications until he ultimately succumbed to these conditions on [insert date].
25.  The Death Certificate lists the cause of death as sepsis due to a sacral decubitus ulcer with osteomyelitis.
26. Defendant failed to take reasonable and appropriate measures to maintain Plaintiff's skin integrity, which resulted in the development of multiple decubitus ulcers.
27. Defendant failed to ensure that Plaintiff received adequate wound care, as well as the diet and nutrition necessary for wound prevention and healing.
28. Defendant failed to adequately and timely assess, diagnose, and treat Plaintiff's pressure wounds and skin breakdown.

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Please feel free to contact the nursing home neglect lawyers at Dever & Feldstein, LLC at (888) 825-9119 for a free consultation if you believe that a family member or loved one has sustained serious injury or wrongful death as a result of bed sores (also known as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers), nursing home falls, dehydration/malnutrition, medication administration error/prescription mistake, elder abuse or elder neglect.

Contact Our Firm
Your Name: Email Address: Phone Number:

Elderly nursing home patients are at risk for developing bedsores (also known as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers).  Decubitus ulcers are bed sores caused by unrelieved pressure on the skin from lying or sitting in the same position too long and are associated with pain.   

Unfortunately, once a bed sore progresses to stage 3 and stage 4 and becomes infected, it is difficult to achieve healing and avoid painful and life-threatening complications.  These individuals may develop osteomyelitis (infection of the bone) and sepsis (blood infection) ultimately resulting in death.     

The good news is that decubitus ulcers are entirely avoidable as long as proper care and preventative measures are instituted and carried out by the nursing home staff.  Under new Medicare guidelines, hospitals are no longer even reimbursed for additional care resulting from bed sores as the government has determined that development of bed sores at a hospital is a so-called "never event."  Unfortunately, many nursing homes fail to provide the necessary and required preventative care, and decubitus ulcers/bedsores remain a serious and common medical problem in nursing homes in this Country. 

Under Maryland law, a nursing home negligence lawsuit is subject to the requirements of the Maryland Health Care Malpractice Claims Statute contained in Section 3-2A-01 et seq. of the Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article of the Maryland Annotated Code.  This statute, among other things, requires Plaintiffs to file a Certificate of Merit and Report from a qualified expert attesting to departures from standards of care proximately resulting and causing the alleged injury.  Creative defense attorneys have made numerous technical challenges regarding Maryland's certificate of merit requirements that have been the subject of several reported Maryland appellate cases and further legislative intervention.  It is therefore crucial that attorneys handling Maryland nursing home negligence cases be familiar with these ever changing certificate of merit requirements in order to avoid potential pitfalls that could ultimately result in the dismissal of meritorious cases. 

A sample Maryland Certificate of Merit and Expert Report involving claims of negligence relating to nursing home bed sores/pressure sores/decubitus ulcers follows:


CERTIFICATE OF MERIT OF [INSERT EXPERT'S NAME]

 I HEREBY CERTIFY and acknowledge that I have reviewed medical records and other documentation pertaining to the facts and circumstances in the above-captioned case.
 I hereby certify and acknowledge that there have been violations of the standards of care committed by [insert names of Defendants], and their respective agents and employees whose identities are contained in the medical records, which have directly and proximately resulted in damages and injuries to the Claimants.
 [Insert names of Defendants], and their respective agents and employees, breached the applicable standards of care in their treatment of [insert name of Plaintiff] and thereby caused the death of [insert name of Plaintiff] and damages and injuries to Claimants, in that they, among other things:
a. failed to adequately and timely diagnose and treat [insert name]'s medical conditions;
b. failed to take reasonable measures to maintain [insert name]'s skin integrity resulting in the development of threatening decubitus ulcers;
c. failed to ensure that [insert name] received adequate wound care, as well as diet and nutrition necessary for wound prevention and healing; 
d. failed to adequately and timely assess, diagnose, and treat [insert name]'s decubitus ulcers and skin breakdown; and
e. were otherwise negligent and violated the applicable standards of care.
 I certify that within the last five years I have been actively engaged in clinical practice, consultation relating to clinical practice, and the teaching of medical residents and nurses, with respect to the care and treatment of nursing home patients and the prevention and treatment of decubitus ulcers.
 I further acknowledge that less than 20% of my annual professional time directly involves testimony in personal injury claims.

_____________________                                         
[Signature line]

REPORT

 I am board-certified in geriatrics and am a Professor of Surgery at [insert name of medical school].  I have served on the editorial board of several professional journals pertaining to wound care, including [insert names of journals].
 This is to acknowledge that after my review of medical records and other documentation pertaining to the facts and circumstances in the above-referenced case, I have concluded to a reasonable degree of medical probability that [insert names of Defendants], and their respective agents and employees whose identities are contained in the medical records, breached the applicable standards of care in their treatment of [insert name of Plaintiff], in that they, failed to adequately and timely diagnose and treat [insert name of Plaintiff]'s medical conditions; failed to take reasonable measures to maintain [insert name of Plaintiff]'s skin integrity, which resulted in the development of life-threatening decubitus ulcers; failed to ensure that [insert name of Plaintiff] received adequate wound care, as well as diet and nutrition necessary for wound prevention and healing; and failed to adequately and timely assess, diagnose, and treat [insert name of Plaintiff]'s pressure wounds and skin breakdown.  I have further concluded that the above-described deviations from the standard of care were the proximate and substantial cause of [insert name of Plaintiff]'s death due to a sacral decubitus ulcer with associated osteomyelitis and sepsis.
 Accordingly, I have concluded that the case to be filed before the Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office of Maryland is meritorious.
 This report is not, nor is it intended to be, an exhaustive description of all opinions and conclusions and their bases.  My opinions regarding the health care providers, and departure from the applicable standards of care, may be modified and/or supplemented upon review of additional information and/or documents.
 Finally, less than 20% of my annual professional time involves testimony in personal injury claims.

_________________        
[Signature line]

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Please feel free to contact the nursing home neglect lawyers at Dever & Feldstein, LLC at (888) 825-9119 for a free consultation if you believe that a family member or loved one has sustained serious injury or wrongful death as a result of bed sores (also known as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers), nursing home falls, dehydration/malnutrition, medication administration error/prescription mistake, elder abuse or elder neglect.

Contact Our Firm
Your Name: Email Address: Phone Number:

A decubitus ulcer/pressure sore is a bed sore caused by unrelieved pressure on the skin that comes from lying or sitting in the same position too long and is associated with pain.   
Unfortunately, once a bedsore progresses to stage 3 and stage 4 and becomes infected, it is difficult to achieve healing and avoid painful and potentially fatal complications.  These individuals may develop osteomyelitis (infection of the bone) and sepsis (blood infection) ultimately resulting in death. 

The standard of care applicable to nursing homes requires the nursing home staff to ensure that a resident entering the facility without pressure ulcers does not develop them unless the resident's clinical condition demonstrates that they were medically unavoidable.  The nursing home staff must also ensure that a resident having pressure ulcers receives necessary and proper wound care treatment and services to promote healing, prevent infection and prevent new ulcers from developing.  The nursing home staff must relieve pressure by turning and repositioning the resident at least every two hours while in bed and every hour while in a Geri-chair or wheelchair, maintain adequate nutrition and hydration, and prevent contractures of the extremities.

Nursing homes develop and implement internal policies and procedures pertaining to the prevention, care, treatment and monitoring of pressure sores /decubitus ulcers.  In our experience litigating decubitus ulcer lawsuits, all too often these policies and procedures are not adhered to by the nursing home staff and elderly residents develop otherwise avoidable fatal bedsores.

It is therefore imperative that Plaintiffs' attorneys request and receive all relevant policies and procedures from defense counsel in the very early stages of litigation through the use of detailed Request for Production of Documents.  (We regularly serve Defendants with such discovery requests along with the Complaint and initial pleading materials).  Sometimes, it may be necessary to seek Court intervention and/or take depositions of corporate designee witnesses in order to ensure that the nursing home timely produces these materials.  Once received, these policies and procedures should be provided to Plaintiffs' medical expert witnesses in order to assess whether the nursing home followed their own policies and procedures and protocol.  The failure of a nursing home to adhere to their own policies and procedures is important evidence that will be taken into consideration when the nursing home's attorneys and in-house representatives evaluate the claim.  This is also very powerful evidence that can be presented to the jury.

A sample Request for Production of Documents in a bedsore/pressure sore/decubitus ulcer nursing home negligence case follows: 

REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS

1. All skin evaluation practices and procedures in effect during Plaintiff's stay at Defendants' nursing home facility.
2. All policies, practices, and procedures in effect during Plaintiff's stay at Defendants'  nursing home facility pertaining to the prevention of decubitus ulcers/ pressure wounds.
3. All policies, practices, and procedures in effect during Plaintiffs' stay at Defendants' nursing home facility pertaining to the prevention of decubitus ulcers/ pressure wounds via the use of specialty mattresses or beds.
4. All policies, practices, and procedures in effect during Plaintiff's stay at Defendants' nursing home facility pertaining to the care, treatment, and monitoring of decubitus ulcers/ pressure wounds.
5. All policies, practices, and procedures in effect during Plaintiff's stay at Defendants' nursing home facility pertaining to the care, treatment, and monitoring of decubitus ulcers/ pressure wounds via the use of specialty mattresses or beds.
6. All information and documents that discuss or pertain to any specialty mattresses or beds that were used in the care and treatment of Plaintiff's decubitus ulcers/ pressure wounds throughout his stay at Defendants' nursing home facility.
7. All written manuals, guidelines, policies, or procedures in effect at Defendants' nursing home facility from [insert dates] that discuss or in any way relate to the diagnosing, monitoring and/or treatment of pressure wounds and/or decubitus ulcers.
8. Information concerning and copies of all inspection reports or evaluations pertaining to the prevention and care of decubitus ulcers/ pressure wounds generated by any federal or state government agencies that regulated or monitored Defendant's nursing home facility  during the years [insert time period].
9. All information and documents that discuss or pertain to Defendants  procedures, guidelines or policies in effect from [insert dates] concerning the circumstances under which nurses and nursing assistants should consult with the patient's treating physician or other physician regarding the patient's skin integrity or condition, including the development and progression of decubitus ulcers/ pressure wounds.
10. All documents that discuss or pertain to Defendant's procedures, guidelines or policies concerning the circumstances under which nurses and nurse practitioners should consult with the resident's treating physician or other physician regarding the patient's status and/or ongoing care needs at Defendants' nursing home facility.
11. All texts, treatises, rules, regulations, guidelines, instructions, protocols, recommendations, manuals, handbooks, memoranda, notices or other documents that were in Defendant's possession in [insert time period] pertaining or related to the diagnosing, monitoring and treatment of wounds and/or heal ulcers at Defendants' nursing home facility.
12. All documents that discuss or pertain to Defendant's procedures, guidelines or policies concerning the hiring, training and/or supervision of all employees or independent contractors responsible for patient care, including nurses and nurse practitioners, from [insert time period] at Defendants' nursing home facility.
13. All documents in your possession from the period [insert time period] that in any way mention or discuss staffing shortages and/or the need to hire additional staff to care for patients at Defendants' nursing home facility.
14. Copies of all inspection reports or evaluations generated by any federal or state government agencies that regulated or monitored Defendants' nursing home facility during the years [insert time period].
15. Copies of any citations, warnings, reprimands, or violation notices received by Defendants from any federal or state government agencies that regulated or monitored Defendant's nursing home facility during the years [insert time period].
16. Copies of all insurance policies that provide primary or excess coverage to Defendant for the allegations complained of in the Complaint.
17. All documents in Defendant's possession concerning or relating staffing and/or staffing numbers and/or staffing levels at Defendant's nursing home facility during the period of [insert time period] including but not limited to staffing sheets.
18. All statements of parties and witnesses taken pursuant to any investigation of the facts described in the Plaintiff's Complaint.
19. All reports for expert witnesses who will testify at the trial of the above-captioned matter.
20. All curriculum vitae for expert witnesses who will testify at the trial of the above-captioned matter.
21. All documents upon which experts who will testify at trial have relied in forming their opinions in this case.
22. All discoverable documents obtained by the Defendant pursuant to any investigation of the facts described in the Plaintiffs' Complaint.
23. All documents received by Defendant via subpoena.
24. All documents regarding Plaintiff's care at Defendants' nursing home facility.
25. A complete copy of all of Defendant's file(s) regarding Plaintiff.
26. All photographs or videotapes of the Plaintiff.
27. All documents that are referenced in Defendant's Answers to Interrogatories.

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Please feel free to contact the nursing home neglect attorneys at Dever & Feldstein, LLC at (888) 825-9119 for a free consultation if you believe that a family member or loved one has sustained serious injury or wrongful death as a result of bed sores (also known as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers), nursing home falls, dehydration/malnutrition, medication administration error/prescription mistake, elder abuse or elder neglect.

Contact Our Firm
Your Name: Email Address: Phone Number:

As a result of their cognitive and physical disabilities, nursing home patients are often totally dependant upon the nursing home staff to provide assistance with all activities of daily living, including medication administration. 

Medication errors can result in serious medical complications and ultimately result in death.  According to the Institute of Medicine's 2000 report entitled "To Err is Human - Building a Safer Health System," medication errors result in approximately 7,000 deaths of Americans annually.  These medication errors are often preventable and result from common medication administration and prescribing errors including: administering the wrong dosage; using the wrong drug; failing to monitor and document the patient's response; and failing to follow doctor's orders.

Under Maryland law, when a nursing home resident dies as a result of nursing home negligence, two causes of action arise: (1) a wrongful death claim; and (2) a survivorship claim.

A sample redacted Maryland Circuit Court Wrongful Death/Survivorship Complaint involving claims of nursing home negligence relating to medication errors involving the drug Coumadin follows:

COMPLAINT

Plaintiffs, [insert name], individually and as personal representative of the Estate of [insert name], [insert wrongful death beneficiaries], by their attorneys, David L. Feldstein and Dever & Feldstein, LLC, hereby file this Complaint against Defendants, [insert names], and in support thereof, state as follows:

PARTIES AND JURISDICTION

 1.   At all times material to this case, Plaintiffs have been citizens and residents of the State of Maryland.  Plaintiffs [inset names] are the surviving children of the decedent, [insert name], and are wrongful death beneficiaries in this action pursuant to Section 3-904(a) of the Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article of the Maryland Annotated Code.
 2. [Insert name] is the duly appointed Personal Representative of the Estate of [insert name].  The Register of Wills for [insert County], Maryland issued Letters of Administration to [insert name] on [insert date].  The Estate of [insert name] is bringing this survival action pursuant to Section 7-401(x) of the Estates and Trusts Article of the Maryland Annotated Code.
 3. At all times material to this case, [insert Defendants] have been corporations engaging in the practice of medicine and nursing home services in Baltimore City, Maryland, and acting through actual and/or apparent agents, servants and/or employees.
 4. The venue for this claim is proper in Baltimore City, Maryland.  The amount in controversy exceeds Thirty Thousand Dollars ($30,000.00).

FACTS COMMON TO ALL COUNTS

 5. At all times mentioned and relevant herein, [insert Defendants] have owned and operated the nursing home facility known as [insert name of nursing home] located at [insert address], and have held themselves and their agents, servants and employees out to the general public as experienced, competent and capable providers of medical and nursing home services, and in such capacity owed a duty to [insert name] and the Plaintiffs to render that degree of medical care and skill which is ordinarily rendered by those who devote special study and attention to the practice of medicine and nursing home services.
 6.  At all times mentioned and relevant herein, all of the individuals at [insert name of nursing home] who participated in the care provided to [insert name] were acting on behalf of and within the scope of their employment with [insert names of Defendants]. 
 7. On or about [insert date], [insert name] suffered a fall at home and was taken to [insert name of hospital] for evaluation and treatment.  [Insert name] was diagnosed with a small pulmonary embolism and was started on Coumadin therapy for anticoagulation.
 8. On [insert date], [insert name] was transferred to the [insert name of nursing home] for continuing rehabilitation.  [Insert name] attending physician noted on the transfer summary that [insert name] could be continued on Coumadin therapy at the nursing home provided his anticoagulation would be closely monitored and as long as someone is watching him and he is not at risk for fall.
 9.  At the time of her admission to the [insert name of nursing home], [insert name] was assessed to be at high risk for falls due to his history. Despite this assessment, the staff at the [insert name of nursing home] failed to initiate proper fall precautions for [insert name], and as a result, he suffered serious falls at [insert name of nursing home] on three separate occasions.  Following his third fall, [insert name] was taken to emergency department of [insert name of hospital] where he was diagnosed with head trauma and fractures of his right hip and right femur.  Emergency room physicians examined [insert name] and found three Fentanyl patches on his body.  Fentanyl is a powerful narcotic with a potency many times that of morphine.  A single Fentanyl patch may be applied every three days after removing the old patch.  The emergency room doctors quickly determined that [insert name] had been given excessive amounts of Fentanyl at [insert name of nursing home] and ordered that [insert name] be given Narcan, a drug used to reverse the effects of narcotic intoxication.       
 10. Emergency room physicians also quickly determined that [insert name] had been given excessive amounts of Coumadin at [insert name of nursing home].  Laboratory tests showed that that [insert name]'s anticoagulation, as measured by his INR, or international normalized ratio, was 50, or approximately 20 times higher than his target range of 2.5.  This excessive anticoagulation, along with the trauma from the fall, caused [insert name] to suffer severe internal hemorrhaging. [Insert name] was promptly evaluated by a cardiologist who noted the following in his chart: "the reason for blood loss is likely the very high INR and I would recommend correcting the coagulopathy with fresh frozen plasma and transfusing to control the hematocrit.  Nevertheless, given his present condition, the chances of meaningful survival are poor, and I have communicated this to the family, who understand."
 11. Doctors at [insert name of hospital] attempted to reverse [insert name] anticoagulation by urgently transfusing multiple units of plasma and blood products, but [insert name] was simply too unstable, and he quickly deteriorated to hemorrhagic shock, kidney failure, and respiratory failure.  [Insert name] was ultimately pronounced dead at 8:29 p.m. with members of his family at his bedside.  

COUNT I  (Professional Negligence)

 12. The Plaintiffs incorporate all of the allegations contained in the above paragraphs as if those allegations are set forth in this Count.
 13. Defendants, individually and through their actual and/or apparent agents, servants and/or employees, owed Plaintiff a duty to exercise reasonable care in their treatment of him.
 14. Defendants, individually and through their actual and/or apparent agents, servants and/or employees, breached the above-described duty of care to Plaintiff, thereby deviating from the applicable standards of care, and were otherwise negligent, careless and reckless in that they, among other things:
(a) failed to adequately and timely diagnose and treat [insert name] medical conditions;
(b) failed to properly manage [insert name]'s pain medications; 
(c) failed to properly manage [insert name]'s anticoagulation therapy;
(d) failed to respond in a timely and appropriate manner to the results of [insert name] coagulation studies; and
(e) were otherwise negligent and violated the applicable standards of care.
15. As a direct and proximate result of the above-described deviations from the applicable standards of care and breaches of duty by Defendants, Plaintiff was caused to sustain serious, painful and permanent injuries to his body, including great physical and mental pain and suffering, and, ultimately, death.
16. As a further direct and proximate result of the above-described deviations from the applicable standards of care and breaches of duty by Defendants, Plaintiff, among other things, was forced to undergo medical treatment, and, as a result, was obliged to expend sums of money for medical, hospital and other care and treatment and was precluded from engaging in his normal and usual pursuits and activities, among other injuries and damages.
17. Had Defendants followed the appropriate and applicable standards of care, Plaintiff would not have suffered the above-identified injuries, damages and death.
18. The injuries and damages herein complained of were directly and proximately caused by the negligence and want of care of Defendants, with no negligence on the part of Plaintiff contributing thereto.

WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs request that a judgment be entered against the Defendants for compensatory damages in excess of Thirty Thousand Dollars ($30,000.00) and any other relief to which this Court finds them entitled.

COUNT II  (Wrongful Death)

 18. The Plaintiffs incorporate all of the allegations contained in the above paragraphs as if those allegations are set forth in this Count.
 19. As a direct and proximate result of the Defendants' above-described negligence in causing the death of [insert name], [insert wrongful death beneficiaries] have sustained, among other things, pecuniary loss, mental anguish, emotional pain and suffering, loss of society, loss of companionship, loss of comfort, loss of protection, loss of parental care, loss of filial care, loss of attention, loss of advice, loss of counsel, loss of guidance and loss of education. 

 WHEREFORE, the Plaintiffs request that a judgment be entered against the Defendants for compensatory damages in excess of Thirty Thousand Dollars ($30,000.00) and any other relief to which this Court finds them entitled.

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