The family of a Pennsylvania man has filed a lawsuit against a nursing home and several individuals after the man passed away in their care. The wrongful death lawsuit claims that the man was involuntarily committed to the home after a court ruling stated he was in need of in-patient treatment. The lawsuit seeks punitive damages, medical expense damages, pain, suffering and mental anguish. Relatives are also seeking any other losses or damages allowable by law.
The man was admitted to the facility but was not provided access to a much-needed machine designed to relieve pre-existing breathing difficulties he suffered while sleeping. During his first night there, nursing staff allegedly gave him prescription drugs that belonged to another patient. Shortly after, he was given the correct drugs; however, the family claims that the drugs the man received the first time can suppress the central nervous system. This further compromised the man’s ability to breathe.
The family also alleges that when the error was realized, a supervisor instructed them not to tell anyone and keep it as something that happened on their shift. There was no medical treatment given to the man and he was found dead the next morning. The lawsuit has since been turned over to the United States District Court because the family is also claiming civil rights violations.
This is a tragic case that ended with a grieving family. Any time the potentially negligent actions of another cause someone else injury or death, family members could have the right to seek out legal help and file a wrongful death or personal injury claim against the responsible party. Such a claim could award the family members damages for pain and suffering, medical expenses and other remedies under Pennsylvania law.
Source: Times Online, “Nursing home, nurses sued for wrongful death,” Kristen Doerschner, Oct. 23, 2012