Nursing home to pay $250,000 in resident's wheelchair death

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A Pennsylvania jury has found a nursing home at fault for the death of an 85-year-old resident who fell from a wheelchair and broke his neck.

After a weeklong trial pitting the family of former resident Bruce Dove against the United Church of Christ's Sarah A. Todd Memorial Home, the jury awarded the Doves $250,000 in damages Friday.

Dove died in 2015 after being taken to Hershey Medical Center, where it was discovered he had suffered multiple cervical spine fractures and neurological damage. reported Dove's adult children were originally told he fell out of his wheelchair, but their wrongful death suit and resulting testimony painted a story of a “fast and reckless ride” that ended with Dove being “flung” to the floor.

According to testimony, a registered nurse didn't warn Dove she'd be moving him or positions his footrests in place. After the accident, the nurses rolled Dove over without immobilizing him, put him back in his chair and wheeled him to bed.

The defense presented expert witnesses who testified the nurses did not further injure Dove by moving him. But the jury sided with the family after five hours of deliberations.

Plaintiff attorney Michael Kelley said the fact that two nurses involved had been fired immediately after Dove's death sealed the case.

Officials at Sarah A. Todd Memorial Home, which offers skilled nursing and independent living, did not comment after the verdict.