Nursing Home Neglect Lawsuit Results in $1.8M Jury Award

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By: Irvin Jackson | Published: November 30th, 2012

A jury has awarded nearly $2 million in damages against a Florida nursing home accused of letting a former professional wrestler die of malnutrition and complications allegedly caused by untreated bedsores

George Dahmer, known by his professional wrestling persona of “Chief White Owl” from the 1950s to 1980s, died in May 2008, after only 63 days in Lake Worth Manor nursing home.

According to a nursing home neglect lawsuit filed by his wife, Patricia Dahmer, the former wrestler lost 30 pounds during that short time and suffered disfiguring pressure sores in the nursing home, which were allowed to eat away at his body untreated.

Last week, following trial in Palm Beach County, Florida, a jury ordered the nursing home, now called Oasis Health and Rehabilitation Center, to pay Dahmer’s widow $1.8 million in compensatory damages.

The nursing home’s management company, Lake Worth Enterprises, LLC, has indicated it believes the ruling is unfair and that it may appeal the decision. According to the company, Dahmer had multiple health problems and had been seen by several doctors and stayed in several nursing homes before his death.

In addition to the weight loss and bedsores, Dahmer lost the ability to walk and talk once he became a patient at Lake Worth, the lawsuit claimed.

During his wrestling years, Dahmer was known for doing a war dance around the ring and for his signature move, the “Tomahawk Chop”.

Also known as decubitus ulcers or pressure sores, bedsores can develop in a nursing home as a result of a lack of blood flow to an area of the skin caused by prolonged pressure on one area of the body. They are most commonly found in places with prominent bones beneath thin layers of skin, such as the heels, elbows and tailbone. 

Residents with limited mobility, who have trouble or are unable to move independently, face the greatest risk of the painful and potentially life-threatening pressure ulcers.

Most medical organizations consider bed sores to be a preventable condition that can be treated if detected early through proper diligence on the part of medical staff and care providers. Failure to prevent, identify, or properly treat bedsores can result in life-threatening infections that enter the bloodstream, known as sepsis.

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