The Estate of S.H. VS. Central Florida Nursing Home
This case was tried before a sole arbitrator for 4 days in November, 2017. Mr. H was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in his late 20’s. After suffering the awful effects of this disease for 20 years, Mr. H was admitted to our nursing home. At the time of his admission, he was bed-bound and unable to move; had a Foley Catheter; was fed via PEG tube; and was unable to speak (other than to say “yes” or “no”). Mr. H’s contractures worsened to the point that he was permanently in the fetal position, and he developed multiple, chronic stage IV pressure sores. Graphic wound photographs were used throughout the 4-day arbitration and were described by the plaintiff’s physician expert as being “bites out of” the resident’s body. Throughout the 2-year residency, Mr. H was hospitalized 14 times due to infections, pneumonia, and for wound care. Mr. H’s mother was involved on a daily basis in the care of her son, having previously done her best to care for him at home. Mr. H’s mother was in denial of her son’s deterioration and his ultimate destiny. Our care givers gave her son his best days. Despite multiple infections, Stage IV decubitus ulcers, and debilitating contractures, the care givers were with Mr. H to the end. They tended to him throughout his most difficult end-of-life conditions. Mr. H passed away, and our caregivers were with him at his funeral to say good bye.
The defense attacked the plaintiff’s case initially by completely refuting plaintiff’s counsel’s assertion that Mr. H. came to our nursing home with a “clean bill of health.” The defense pointed to the fact that in addition to end-stage, progressive multiple sclerosis, the resident also suffered from a multitude of co-morbidities, several of which were debilitating. The defense showed that Mr. H. had been treated by a wound care specialist on a weekly basis, and the defense proved that the wounds were medically unavoidable. Further, the defense was able to impeach plaintiff’s experts as they do not have a specialist’s knowledge of progressive multiple sclerosis.
This was clearly a sad case involving a gentleman who had been dealt a bad deck of cards early in life, but who received compassionate care from a wonderful team of nurses and CNA’s. It is a privilege and an honor to tell the story of those who dedicate their lives caring for others.
After concluding the arbitration, the sole arbitrator issued his verdict for the defense.
Plaintiff’s Attorneys: Dara Cooley and Joseph Figarotta of Wilkes & McHugh
Defense Attorneys: Kirsten Ullman and Amy Prevatt of Ullman Bursa Law
Plaintiff Experts: Perry Starer, MD and Charlotte Sheppard, RN
Defense Experts: David Goldberg, MD and Patricia Jay, ARNP