Nurs­ing home sued in death of res­i­dent

Texarkana Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By Lynn LaRowe

A wrong­ful death suit filed last week in Miller County ac­cuses a Texarkana, Ark., nurs­ing home of neg­li­gence in the May 2014 death of an 83-yearold res­i­dent.

Texarkana lawyer Chad Tram­mell filed the com­plaint Oct. 2 on be­half of the wrong­ful death ben­e­fi­cia­ries of Lu­cille Hughes. Hughes be­came a res­i­dent of the nurs­ing home in De­cem­ber 2005 and lived there un­til she died at a lo­cal hos­pi­tal of in­juries from a fall May 1, 2014, the com­plaint states.

Hughes had a history of fall­ing well-known to nurs­ing home staff. Ac­cord­ing to the com­plaint, Hughes had pre­vi­ously fallen and in­jured her­self in May 2013 and April 2014.

“Ms. Hughes fell again on May 1, 2014. She was found ly­ing face down on the floor close to her bed, with blood com­ing from her head,” the com­plaint states.

Hughes was taken to Wadley Re­gional Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Texarkana for treat­ment, but died of her in­juries the same day, the com­plaint al­leges.

Ac­cord­ing to the com­plaint, the nurs­ing home is guilty of chronic neg­li­gence in Hughes’ care. The com­plaint ac­cuses the nurs­ing home of al­low­ing Hughes to suf­fer falls, in­fec­tions and skin prob­lems such as pres­sure sores and ne­glect­ing her hy­giene.

The suit ac­cuses the de­fen­dants of car­ing more about prof­its than pa­tients. To re­duce ex­penses, the fa­cil­ity was

un­der­staffed and in­ad­e­quately trained, and med­i­cal record-keep­ing was poor, the suit al­leges.

Named as de­fen­dants are Arkansas Nurs­ing and Re­hab, Cap­stone Health Group, owner Kyle Desho­tels, Ad­min­is­tra­tor Deanna Pre­jean and uniden­ti­fied em­ploy­ees of the nurs­ing home.

The com­plaint asks for com­pen­satory dam­ages, court costs, at­tor­ney fees and puni­tive dam­ages meant to pun­ish “nurs­ing home de­fen­dants for their egre­gious and ma­li­cious mis­con­duct in reck­less dis­re­gard and con­scious in­dif­fer­ence to the con­se­quences to Lu­cille Hughes and to de­ter (the de­fen­dants) and oth­ers from re­peat­ing such atroc­i­ties.”

The case has been as­signed to Cir­cuit Judge Brent Hal­tom.

A sim­i­lar case, filed in June on be­half of the fam­ily of 79-yearold Henry Lee Clay­ton, con­tains sim­i­lar ac­cu­sa­tions. Clay­ton died of a se­vere uri­nary tract in­fec­tion in De­cem­ber 2013, ac­cord­ing to a com­plaint filed by Lit­tle Rock lawyer Dar­ren O’Quinn.

The Clay­ton suit ac­cuses the nurs­ing home of ig­nor­ing Clay­ton’s in­fec­tion un­til he de­vel­oped blood poi­son­ing, or sep­sis, from which he did not re­cover. Like the Hughes com­plaint, the Clay­ton com­plaint al­leges chronic neg­li­gence, poor record-keep­ing, in­ad­e­quate staffing and a pref­er­ence for prof­its over pa­tients.

The Clay­ton suit is pend­ing be­fore Cir­cuit Judge Carl­ton Jones.

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