Announcements - Fudge & McArthur, P.A.

Fudge & McArthur, P.A.’s Donna Fudge and Benjamin Broadwater are pleased to announce Victories in two recent Stage IV Pressure Ulcer/Nursing Home cases in Florida.

 

  1. Defense Jury VerdictMorgan & Morgan, P.A. represented the Estate of Willie F. Coley, in a lawsuit against TR & SNF, Inc., d/b/a The Nursing Center at University Village, and BVM Management, Inc. in relation to Mr. Coley’s 12+ year residency at University Village’s skilled nursing facility.  The Complaint alleged negligence for the development of a Stage IV sacral/coccyx pressure ulcer.  Mr. Coley passed away 15 months after leaving University Village and continued to have this pressure ulcer until the time of his death.  A graphic photograph of the Stage IV ulcer was shown to the JuryThis case focused on the final three months of Mr. Coley’s 12+ year residency at University Village.  Plaintiff alleged that University Village failed to implement appropriate interventions after re-admission from a hospital stay, and failed to revise any interventions after Mr. Coley developed his sacral/coccyx ulcer, in violation of the Federal Regulation for pressure ulcers, FTag 314.  Plaintiff also alleged that the caregivers failed to follow the Facility’s own Policies and Procedures by failing to monitor/track the wound, and by failing to provide adequate pressure relief every 2 hours.  As a result, Plaintiff alleged that University Village failed to prevent the development, and worsening, of Mr. Coley’s pressure ulcer.  Lastly, Plaintiff alleged that the University Village caregivers failed to properly assess and treat Mr. Coley for Pain allegedly associated with his wound.
    • Defense Themes: The defense focused on Mr. Coley’s 10 most recent Hospitalizations leading up to his coccyx skin wound and his 20 underlying Comorbidities including a history of cerebrovascular accident, sterocordal ulcer, dementia, paralysis, C. difficile, and GERD which contributed to Mr. Coley’s development and eventual worsening of his sacral/coccyx ulcer.  The Defense proved that proper interventions were put in place when Mr. Coley was re-admitted from the hospital, but despite these interventions, Mr. Coley experienced an unavoidable “Friction Blister” that progressed to a pressure ulcer and eventually became a Stage IV with suspected osteomyelitis.  The jury heard expert testimony that the healing of Mr. Coley’s left and right Buttocks skin wounds, adjacent to his Coccyx sore, was evidence that he was being properly offloaded in that area.  The Defense argued that it met FTag 314 by:  (1) evaluating Mr. Coley’s risk factors for additional pressure sores, (2) implementing interventions for the prevention of pressure sores, (3) monitoring the impact of those interventions by notifying the physicians of changes in the wound and obtaining new treatment orders such as a wound vac and an infectious disease consult, and (4) revising those interventions.
    • Overcoming Documentation Problems: The nursing home had lost its wound tracking documentation.  However, the Defense argued that any lack of documentation did not mean that there was a lack of monitoring.  The staff consistently notified Mr. Coley’s physicians of changes in the wound’s condition, and a wound care physician was tracking the wound on a weekly basis from April 23, 2014 through June 4, 2014.  The Defense pointed out to the jury that Plaintiff’s allegations were based on records that were “cherry picked” and it was explained that, in order to get a true and accurate understanding of the interventions such as repositioning, pain management and wound monitoring by the caregivers, the jury had to look at the entirety of Mr. Coley’s Chart, which was filled with evidence that these areas of care were actually provided.
    • Jury Verdict: Following the 5 day jury trial, the jury returned a defense jury verdict in favor of both Defendants.
    • Trial Team: Donna Fudge and W. Benjamin Broadwater of Fudge & McArthur, P.A. were lead trial counsel.  Caitlin Kramer, Esq., and Paralegals Amy Bozarth and Julie Christ of Fudge & McArthur, P.A. assisted in the trial.
    • Defense Experts: Dr. Aimee Garcia (Houston, Texas) and Alexa Parker Clark (St. Petersburg, Florida)
  2. Defense Award Arbitration:  Granddaughter brought suit against the nursing home stemming from her grandmother’s multi-year residency at the facility.  The allegations focused on a Stage IV pressure ulcer on the resident’s left hip which persisted in excess of 400 days, and required dozens of debridements, up until her death.
    • Defense Themes: The Defense argued that the resident had multiple behavioral issues and refulsals of care that caused her skin wound, and thereafter made it impossible to heal. Specifically, the Defense presented testimony from Dr. Aimee Garcia, a wound care expert and member of the NPUAP (National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel), that the resident’s wound developed due to Trauma from the resident repeatedly scratching her left hip, and eventually deteriorated due to pressure as a result of the resident’s refusals to comply with turning and repositioning off of her left hip. The resident had a preference of laying on her left hip. The Defense explained that the resident had a resident right to refuse to be turned off of her left side despite its impairment to wound healing. The Defense also argued that the resident’s repeated removals of her wound dressings impaired the caregivers’ ability to prevent further deterioration of the wound, especially because the resident consistently refused to have her long fingernails trimmed and she used those fingernails to dig and scratch at the wound bed. The Defense explained that the caregivers were prohibited from physically or chemically restraining the resident in any way to prevent such behavior. In sum, the Defense argued that the caregivers met the resident’s care needs to the extent the resident would allow, put appropriate interventions in place and recorded their efforts to redirect the resident’s non-compliant behavior throughout the chart.
    • Arbitration Award: Following a two (2) day Arbitration, the Panel entered an Arbitration Award in favor of the Defendant, finding that there was no breach of a duty owed to the resident.
    • Arbitration Team: Donna Fudge and W. Benjamin Broadwater of Fudge & McArthur, P.A. were lead Defense counsel.  Caitlin Kramer, Esq. and Julie Christ of Fudge & McArthur, P.A. assisted in the arbitration.
    • Defense Experts: Dr. Aimee Garcia (Houston, Texas) and Alexa Parker Clark (St. Petersburg, Florida)