Gunn vs. International Nursing & Rehab Center, LLC

Introduction:

This case was brought after the patient in focus died. Interestingly, the complaint does not allege that the defendant’s conduct caused the death; rather, it complains that the defendant’s actions added to the pain and suffering of the decedent just prior to her death.

Filed: May 27, 2016

Jurisdiction: Circuit Court of Illinois, Cook County

Category: Nursing Home; Neglect; Bed Sores

Plaintiff: Willie GUNN, Administrator of the Estate of Maudie Gunn

Defendant(s): International Nursing & Rehab Center, LLC, d/b/a Aperion Care International

Summary:

Maudie Gunn entered Aperion Care in the middle of June, 2014. Upon her arrival, Aperion staff conduct a complete skin test and did not find any breakdown in the skin. However, by just September of that year, she had apparently developed pressure sores on her heels and sacral area of her body. Maudie eventually died of unrelated caused but her estate brought suit against the nursing home facility for the bed sores and the related harms that occurred. As opposed to medical malpractice actions, many nursing home actions only bring suit against the facility and not a healthcare professional as well. This point is illustrated here.

Claims and Damages:

The plaintiff brought these claims under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act. He claimed that the decedent experienced malnutrition, skin sores, disfigurement, and disability before passing away. Additionally, the complaint also cited significant medical bills that resulted from the defendant’s conduct. In support of these statements, the plaintiff offered the following claims:

  • The defendant did not inspect, clean, or monitor the areas affected with sores;
  • The defendant did not adequately treat the skin sores once they developed;
  • The defendant did not give the plaintiff sufficient nutrition to keep the decedent healthy;
  • The defendant did not communicate with the decedent’s doctor regarding her deteriorating condition;
  • The defendant did not timely request a wound consultation;
  • The defendant did not give the decedent sufficient services or care.

Insights:

  • Great effort should be made to protect the dignity of the original skin test because this could be the smoking gun. Plaintiff’s counsel could use this as proof that the defendant’s deficient care alone gave rise to the pressure sores. Also, it might be hard for the defendant to attack that same report because it alone conducted test.
  • Besides the physical pain and suffering experienced by the decedent before she died, she also experienced disfigurement. This is a unique mental injury, a shot to her self-esteem, and should be explained and accounted for when seeking compensation.

Related Laws/Cases:

  • 210 ILCS 45/
  • 210 ILCS 45/3-601
  • 210 ILCS 45/3-602
  • 755 ILCS 5/27-6
  • 740 ILCS 180/1
  • 42 USCA §1396r

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