Lawsuit: multiple falls, lack of pain meds before death

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Attempting a resident transfer without adequate help is alleged.
Attempting a resident transfer without adequate help is alleged.

The family of a woman who died after falling while being transferred with a lift is suing her former nursing home for nearly $2.5 million.

An executor for the estate of Fannye Doris Holden Scruggs Rorer is suing Virginia's Williamsburg Landing in a medical malpractice lawsuit for personal injuries and wrongful death, according to court documents filed in the circuit court for the City of Williamsburg and James City County, Virginia.

The suit alleges that Rorer fell on April 15, 2016, while a staff member was transferring her from her bed into a lift designed for immobile patients, without any assistance and without the special pad for amputees like the victim, as required. Rorer died eight days later.

The complaint claims she was injured during at least six other lift transfers in the months leading up to her fall and death. It alleges that staff compounded the victim's suffering by not providing the necessary pain medications on a timely basis.

The victim's death certificate, signed by the facility's medical director, notes that her death was caused by the fall. The suit seeks $2.15 million with another $350,000 in damages.

Kathy Kammer, senior director of community relations & communications for Williamsburg Landing, told McKnight's in an email that the nursing home had not yet been formally served with the complaint, and therefore had not had the opportunity to respond to the allegations.

She also expressed the agency's commitment to resident care.

“Nothing is more important to Williamsburg Landing than the health and safety of our residents,” Kammer said. “These remain Williamsburg Landing's top priorities. One of the reasons for our high quality is that we thoroughly review concerns about any resident's medical care. This process will continue with this matter and will ensure that Williamsburg Landing can continue to provide the highest quality care to all of its residents.”