Good Samaritan faces charges over resident death linked to 50 falls

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An Iowa skilled nursing facility has been charged with wrongful death for allegedly allowing a resident to fall dozens of times prior to her death, which was brought on by a fall.

Maggie Sprouse entered the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society facility in Keosauqua, IA, in December 2012, according to the complaint. She fell “at least” 23 times in the next six months, until she suffered injuries in a fall and died, the charges state.

State investigators found that Sprouse actually fell more than 50 times while residing at the facility, leading to $10,000 in fines, according to local newspaper the Ottumwa Courier.

Sprouse's family brought the lawsuit, arguing that Good Samaritan failed to provide “safe, adequate” nursing services and was delinquent in notifying family members of Sprouse's falls.

Staffing also is called into question in the complaint, which states that one certified nursing assistant and one licensed practical nurse were on site to care for 17 residents at the time Sprouse suffered her fatal fall. These caregivers allegedly called Sprouse's primary care physician prior to dialing 911, despite the obvious severity of Sprouse's injuries, the complaint states.

In a response to the complaint, Good Samaritan admitted that the falls occurred. However, it denies any “grossly negligent” conduct and says the plaintiffs' claims for punitive damages are “unfounded and unsupported.”