A New Market health care facility is preparing to fend off a $1.5 million lawsuit alleging it failed to take adequate care of a resident admitted in February 2018.
The administrator of the estate of Ruth Irene Williams, who died on Dec. 5, 2018, is suing Life Care Center of New Market, alleging its employees did not take adequate care of Williams, neglecting her and allowing her to fall multiple times. The plaintiff also alleges that the center allowed Williams to become dehydrated, leading to her death.
According to a complaint filed in Shenandoah County Circuit Court on Jan. 10, Williams was admitted to Life Care Center of New Market on Feb. 1, 2018, and her initial medical evaluation showed that she was “at risk” for falling. Court documents show that Williams had Parkinson’s, paralysis in one arm and difficulty walking. The plaintiff alleges that Life Care Center of New Market knew that Williams was at risk and should have devised a personal plan to cater to her needs.
Despite that knowledge, the plaintiff alleges, the center “repeatedly neglected and disregarded its duty of care to her and standard of care, took insufficient precautions, failed to exercise reasonable care, and thereby allowed to her fall multiple times.”
The plaintiff claimed that Williams fell on two separate occasions in March 2018.
The first fall happened on March 19 in the evening, according to court documents. The complaint states that someone saw Williams on the floor after a fall when she hit the back of her head. The complaint does not claim that anyone saw her fall.
According to the complaint, on March 20, in the morning, Williams fell forward out of her wheelchair. The complaint claims that Williams was unattended when she fell.
In response, the center denies the allegation that it neglected Williams and admits that Williams fell either on March 19 or March 20 but denies that she fell twice and was unattended or neglected.
Following the fall in March, the plaintiff claims that Williams fell again in November 2018, this time in the shower after employees left her on a stool unattended. The plaintiff claims that Williams was “not properly supervised by staff at the time of the fall, and reasonable measures had not been employed to prevent a fall.”
As a result of the fall, Williams was taken to Sentara RMH Medical Center where she was diagnosed with a broken hip.
Life Care Center of New Market denies that Williams was left unsupervised and wrote that they did not have enough information to say whether Williams fractured her hip.
Following her fall in November, Williams’ estate alleged that the center failed to keep her hydrated and her broken hip along with dehydration led to her death on Dec. 5, 2018.
Leading up to filing their complaint on Jan. 10, the plaintiff claimed they consulted a doctor of orthopedics and a nurse supervisor in a long-term care facility to serve as expert witnesses in a trial.
Mark Obenshain, the plaintiff’s attorney, appeared via telephone in court last week to set a trial date. Obenshain said the defendant’s attorneys are not available for trial until April 2021.
A judge set the case for a three-day jury trial April 26 to April 28, 2021, with a pre-trial conference on March 22, 2021.