A Georgia nursing home must pay $1.8 million to the family of a former resident, despite a jury finding the provider was not responsible for the woman’s 2015 death.
Jurors determined that Grace Healthcare of Tucker, GA, should compensate Christine Mitchell’s estate for the pain and suffering she experienced for about 30 days after she tumbled from her bed. The skilled nursing facility admitted liability but plans to fight the judgment, believing the verdict was “out of line with the evidence,” said attorney Howard Reese III.
“We are disappointed with the amount of the verdict and are considering our options for appeal at this time,” he told the Daily Report, adding that they were “sympathetic” to the family’s anguish.
Grace Healthcare of Tucker’s policy says that two aides must help change linens when a resident is in bed because the facility does not use bedrails or restraints. Only one aide handled 70-year-old Mitchell’s sheets on the September 2015 day of her fall and used too much force, causing the resident to spill off the bed. It resulted in a subdural hematoma and a large forehead cut. She died a month later.
Jurors agreed with Grace Healthcare that Mitchell’s death stemmed from myriad health issues — which included hypertension, chronic kidney disease and diabetes — and not just the head trauma. But they determined that the home failed to properly administer care, leading to the fall and leaving her in pain during her final days. Plaintiff attorneys estimated that Mitchell probably had only about six months left to live because of her end-stage dementia.
Grace Healthcare of Tucker and its parent company did not respond to McKnight’s requests for comment. Reese had estimated a payout of not more than $150,000. Plaintiffs did not offer a specific figure during closing arguments.