The adult daughter of a man whose nine months prior to his death were allegedly spent in pain and agony spoke about her father’s better days July 21, during the first day of testimony in a medical malpractice case pitting the family of a deceased man against a handful of medical facilities and a nursing home.
Philadelphia native Camay Williams, who is suing as executrix of her late father’s estate, spoke about a man she greatly admired, and one who kept his dignity even after having to have his legs amputated for health reasons.
“He was tall, he was healthy, he was handsome, he was vibrant, he was a beautiful person,” Williams said under questioning by plaintiff’s attorney Bennie Lazzara, of the city firm Wilkes & McHugh.
Williams spoke, oftentimes teary-eyed, on the first full day of trial, which included opening statements by attorneys for Williams and counsel for the defendants, who are listed as Philadelphia-based nursing home Willow Terrace, Albert Einstein Medical Center and Albert Einstein Healthcare Network, Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals, St. Agnes Continuing Care Center, St. Agnes Long Term Care, LLP and Mercy Health System.
The plaintiff’s attorneys contend Marcel Mackey, Sr. developed pressure ulcers as a direct result of the negligence on the part of the defendants.
The trial took a little while to get started, since it took longer than initially expected to pick the 12-member jury. On July 20, it appeared as though opening statements would be given, but the judge pushed back the start of trial by a day given the late hour.
On Thursday, Williams, who was the first witness called to the stand, reflected on the life of her father, a man she said was dapper, funny, loving and shared special relationships with his wife, five children, and 15 or so grandkids.
“My dad was a man who was always joking,” Williams said, telling the jury of the various practical jokes he played on his family.
Mackey also enjoyed taking his family fishing, to carnivals, to boxing matches, and other family outings and activities.
The late Mackey also instilled a certain sense of faith in his children, his Roman Catholicism a strong part of his daily life.
“One thing about my dad is he was very serious about his faith,” she said. “He instilled that love for the church in us too.”
Williams also described her dad as “fastidious about his hygiene and his clothes,” a man who took pride in the way he looked, always donning suits and hats, and always appearing otherwise well groomed.
Mackey never lost his sense of humor, Williams, said, even when he was first taken to the hospital after suffering a stroke.
In March 2007, Mackey was admitted to Hahnemann University Hospital to undergo treatment for the brain condition.
When the lawsuit was first filed in March 2009, Hahnemann was named as the lead defendant, but the hospital was later removed as party to the lawsuit, since it was determined that his pressure ulcers developed later on down the line.
He died in early May 2008.
After Mackey was first released from the hospital, when he had to have his legs amputated, Williams said on the stand, he continued to care for himself. This was inspiring to his family members.
“Even though he lost his legs, he wanted everybody to know, ‘I’m still a man,’” Williams said.
It wasn’t until after he lost his legs that Mackey had to be admitted to a nursing home. Soon, Mackey’s wife, and Williams’ mother, also suffered a stroke. Mackey never regained his ability to speak, his daughter said, but he always knew when his family was around.
“He looked happy to see us,” she recalled. “He let you squeeze his hands. He knew you were there.”
None of the three defense attorneys present cross-examined Williams.
The trial is expected to last two to three weeks.