A Kentucky jury awarded $42.75 million to a family who claimed that nursing home abuse and neglect led to their loved one’s death. Joseph Clint Offutt was a resident at the Harborside of Madisonville nursing home for only nine days before he died. In that brief time, Mr. Offutt became lethally dehydrated, despite having a feeding tube. The nursing home failed him in the most basic way: they failed to ensure he had enough water to live.
Nine Days of Nursing Home Abuse
Mr. Offutt served in World War II and was still planting crops at age 88. A stroke weakened him in 2007. His wife of 58 years, Pearline, cared for him at home for eight months. Despite Pearline’s efforts, Offutt’s family concluded he needed professional care. Nursing homes exist for the purpose of caring for those whose families can no longer care for them.
It is incredibly distressing for a family to trust their loved one’s life to the promises of these “experts,” only to find their loved one received worse care at the nursing home then they would have received at home. As a New Jersey nursing home abuse lawyer, my experience shows that the nursing home’s lies and broken promises make it even harder for the family to accept their loved one’s fate.
Mr. Offutt was only at the nursing home from March 25 to April 3, 2008. He was transferred to a hospital and died two days later on April 5, 2008. The family alleged that nursing home staff members neglected Mr. Offutt. The nursing home allowed him to suffer from severe dehydration, malnutrition, bedsores and infections. The nursing home allowed all of this to happen in just nine days, and their neglect ultimately caused his death.
Harborside’s Response to Nursing Home Abuse Verdict
Of course, the nursing home then had the audacity to criticize the jurors. Carol Britt, administrator of the facility, released the following statement:
We feel the size of the verdict is outrageous and totally inappropriate based on the facts presented in the case. Not only did we provide quality care to this individual, but the outsized punitive damages assessed against us bear no relation to our conduct. We intend to vigorously challenge the decision through the appeal process.
With all due respect Ms. Britt, how does outstanding care lead to death by dehydration in just nine days?
Adult Protective Services officials of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services investigated the care provided to Mr. Offutt and agreed with the allegations of nursing home abuse. The Office of Inspector General cited the nursing home for failing to prevent bedsores in the case of Mr. Offutt. Was the state wrong too Ms. Britt?
Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys in New Jersey and Philadelphia
As a New Jersey and Philadelphia nursing home abuse lawyer, I find Ms. Britt’s comments to be indicative of the attitudes expressed by the entire nursing home industry. 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. The jurors were members of Ms. Britt’s community. The jury took time out of their lives to sit through the trial and listen to all of the evidence. Contrary to Ms. Britt’s opinion about the jury and the size of their award, the evidence against the nursing home must have been so egregious for the jury to become so outraged that they felt the need to send a message to the nursing home that their conduct was reprehensible.
If you or a loved one have suffered due to nursing home abuse or neglect, please contact the Mininno Law Office for a free case evaluation or call for a free consultation at (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey, or (215) 567-2380 in Philadelphia.
Our team is dedicated to fighting this huge industry that seemingly has no respect for the lives with which it is entrusted. Let us earn you the compensation you deserve.