Negligence claim filed against Philadelphia-based nursing care facility

Jon Campisi Jan. 13, 2012, 9:47am

The daughter of a woman who sustained a hip fracture after she fell out of a wheelchair at the residential treatment facility she had been confined to while recovering from a previous hip ailment has filed a civil claim against the medical facility, alleging the company didn’t do a proper job of keeping watch over the woman at the time of the alleged incident two years ago.

Philadelphia attorney Leonard R. Parks filed the complaint Jan. 10 at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas on behalf of Philadelphia resident Brenda St. George, who has power of attorney for her mother, Mamie Nelson.

The defendants named in the lawsuit are Kennett Square, Pa.-based Genesis Healthcare Corporation and Philadelphia-based Fairview Care Center of Bethlehem Pike.

According to the lawsuit, Nelson was taken to Fairview Care Center on Sept. 22, 2010, in order to recover from a total left hip replacement. About a week later, while Nelson was seated in her wheelchair, Nelson attempted to get out of the device when she fell and fractured her right hip.

Prior to the incident, Nelson was assessed by facility workers as a “fall risk,” and therefore was provided with a patient alarm that would alert staff when the woman attempted to get up out of the chair, the suit states.

“Unfortunately, on the day of the fall, defendant negligently decided not to use the alarm and did not attach it as it had become broken and defective and defendant never replaced or repaired said broken alarm it had been affixed to the bed, consequently, plaintiff’s right hip was fractured as a result of the aforementioned fall and defendants concomitant negligence,” the lawsuit states.

Despite the defendant’s knowledge of the hip injury, facility staff failed to provide timely treatment to Nelson, and she didn’t see a doctor until the injury was discovered by the woman’s daughter, St. George, on Oct. 1, 2010, the suit claims.

The lawsuit claims that large sums of money had to be spent on Nelson’s medical care and that “said expenses will continue for an indefinite period into the future, to the great detriment, damage and loss of plaintiff.”

As a result of the incident, Nelson suffered great physical pain, emotional distress and an exacerbation of a pre-existing left hip injury, the suit claims. Furthermore, Nelson was caused to fracture her right hip, which required her to undergo additional surgical repair.

The lawsuit accuses the defendants of negligence for failing to properly monitor Nelson’s condition after assessing her as a “fall risk,” failing to properly monitor medical equipment, and failing to provide medical assistance to Nelson after her fall.

The complaint contains counts of vicarious liability and corporate negligence.

For each of the two counts listed in the complaint, the plaintiff seeks judgment against the defendants in excess of $50,000, plus interest, attorney’s fees and other court related costs.

A jury trial has been demanded.

The case ID number is 120101101.

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