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West Virginia woman says nursing home fatally neglected mother

A West Virginia woman claims her mother was fatally injured while in the care of a nursing home. She filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the facility and its administrator on Sept. 9.

The plaintiff, who lives in Kanawha County, contends her mother was the victim of poor care and neglect while she was a resident of the Heartland nursing home in Charleston from Nov. 14, 2012, until Nov. 23, 2012. She alleges that employees at the facility failed to seek medical care for her mother when she displayed a condition change which reportedly lead to an untreated artery blockage involving multiple vessels.

The lawsuit accuses Heartland of ordinary negligence and reckless misconduct, negligence, statutory violations and wrongful death. The male administrator of the nursing home is accused of negligence in hiring and under-staffing. The plaintiff seeks compensation for funeral expenses, damages, legal fees and court costs.

Heartland of Charleston, which is operated by Health Care and Retirement Corp. of America, was ordered to pay $91 million for failing to feed and care for an 87-year-old patient in 2011. The damages were reduced to $37 million by the West Virginia Supreme Court in June 2014.

Families depend on nursing homes to provide proper care for their loved ones. When a reasonable standard of care is not met, bedsores, falls, malnutrition, dehydration, bone fractures and even death can occur. If family members suspect their loved one is a victim of nursing home neglect or elder abuse, they may wish to consult with an attorney. An attorney may be able to use medical records and evidence to establish negligence or abuse on the part of nursing home staff.

Source: The Washington Times, "W.Va. Supreme Court cuts nursing home's penalties", Jonathan Mattise and John Raby, June 18, 2014

Source: The West Virginia Record, "Woman blames Heartland for mother's death", Annie Cosby, October 27, 2014

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