Iowa Nursing Home Ordered To Pay Nearly Half Million Dollars in Patient Death

An Iowa <"">nursing home has been ordered to pay close to a-half million dollars to the estate of Wilbur Jackson, following his death at the facility

The Des Moines Register explained that the accident took place at Grinnell’s Friendship Manor Care Center in June 2009. A retired farmer, Mr. Jackson was at the facility for only 17 days for what was meant to be a short rehab stay following hip surgery. On his way, via ambulance from the facility to a local hospital for physician-ordered tests, Mr. Jackson was strapped to a gurney and joking with staff when a crack in the pavement caused the gurney to flip, said the Des Moines Register. Mr. Jackson’s head hit the pavement, he fell into a coma, and died the following month, leaving his wife of 64 years, Mabel, behind.

The jury in the case ordered the nursing home to pay $491,747 and for Midwest Ambulance, who was found to be 10 percent liable, to pay $54,639, said the Des Moines Register. The total damages were assessed at $546,386, with 90 percent fault assessed against the facility.

Before the trial, officials at Friendship Manor deposed that the pavement cracks long existed but were never considered a danger; however, Richard Achenbach, the facility’s administrator at the time of the accident, deposed that he repaired the walkway’s cracks the morning after the accident saying, “When I seen the crack like that, I considered it could be a safety issue,” quoted the Des Moines Register.

Tim Boyle, the facility’s owner, said in his deposition that he knew about the cracks and that rebar—steel that reinforces concrete—was protruding, saying, “Although the rebar was exposed … it did not stick up far enough to be hazardous,” quoted the Des Moines Register.

Boyle is also former Iowa Healthcare Association board president and a proponent in the fight to help industry receive lower punitive ways in which to regulated nursing homes in that state, even personally hosting some legislative fundraisers, reported the Des Moines Register.

Friendship Manor was also fined $3,250 by the federal government following Mr. Jackson’s death, said the Des Moines Register, which noted that this is just one of a number of regulatory violations at that facility. Former employee Lesley Polek was convicted of sexually abusing residents there in 2005; two co-workers confirmed seeing the abuse. In 2008, the home was fined $112,650 after Ruth Louden, 89, a resident there died; her leg was amputated due to gangrene. Boyle appealed, finally settling with the government for $75,397, wrote the Des Moines Register.

Earlier this week we wrote about another case of nursing home abuse involving a family who sued the Harborside of Madisonville alleging that the facility’s neglect led to the death of Joseph Cling Offutt, 92, who stayed at the facility for a mere nine days before his death. The facility is now known as the Hillside Villa Care and Rehabilitation Center.

Offutt’s family alleged that staff at the nursing home neglected him, rendering him malnourished and causing him to experience severe dehydration, bedsores, infections, and death, said previously, which also noted that Adult Protective Services officials of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services backed the accusations of neglect. Court documents confirm that the jury awarded $1 million for Offutt’s pain and suffering, $1.75 million for his wife’s loss, and $40 million for punitive damages, said

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