Assisted living facility cleared of negligence after resident's death.

 
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Byline: Mass. Lawyers Weekly Staff

The plaintiff's decedent resided at an assisted living facility owned and operated by the defendants. Prior to her residency, the decedent was assessed as requiring assistance with her activities of daily living and supervision with ambulation.

During her residency, the decedent was hospitalized on two occasions. The first time, she was hospitalized for an inner ear infection. The second time, less than 24 hours before the subject incident, she was diagnosed with a transient ischemic attack. On both occasions, the decedent presented with increased confusion, dizziness, and an inhibited ability to ambulate independently over a three-day period.

The morning after the decedent returned from her second hospitalization, she was exiting the dining room and fell, sustaining a fractured hip. No staff member witnessed the fall, and there were inconsistent statements about whether she collided with another resident or fell while reaching for her cane.

The decedent's hip never healed, and she underwent several surgeries attempting to correct chronic dislocations of her right hip. After months of unsuccessful treatment, the decedent developed sepsis and died about three months after the fall. The cause of death was listed as sepsis.

The plaintiff alleged that the defendants should have re-assessed her upon her return from the hospital after the transient ischemic attack. The plaintiff's expert testified that the defendants should have provided a wheelchair; provided direct 1:1 supervision for 24 hours following her...

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