$1.2 million awarded in case of nursing home resident trapped, fatally burned in bed

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A case over a nursing home resident who suffered fatal burns has ended with a $1.2 million award to the victim's family and the government. 

The incident occurred after caregivers at the 50-bed Hudson Elms nursing home in Hudson, OH, placed a 95-year-old resident in a low bed position because she was a fall risk, plaintiffs' attorney Marty Delahunty told McKnight's. The bed was placed against the wall near a baseboard heater; the woman's legs became trapped and she sustained fourth-degree burns.

“The bone itself was burned,” said Delahunty, a partner at the law firm of Slater & Zurz LLP.

The woman's roommate, a resident with dementia, had access to the thermostat controls and had turned the heat up to maximum, according to Delahunty. 

It is unclear how long the woman had been trapped before being discovered at approximately 5 a.m. Her chart did not describe any screaming or calls for help, Delahunty said. She did have dementia but was verbal prior to the burns, he added.

The woman ultimately underwent a leg amputation and had a toe on the other foot removed, the attorney said. She died fewer than 90 days after discharge from the hospital.

The arbitration process concluded July 15. The settlement includes pain and suffering and wrongful death awards, and about $267,000 will go to government health programs that paid for the woman's care. Delahunty said he does not believe that Hudson will challenge the arbitrator's decision.

Hudson Elms had not responded to inquiries from McKnight's as of press time.

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