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Kentucky Nursing Home Negligence Lawsuit Results in $42.75M Verdict

A Kentucky nursing home has been hit with a $42.75 million verdict in a wrongful death lawsuit filed over the gross negligence of the staff. 

The nursing home negligence lawsuit was filed by Pearline Offutt, whose husband, James Cliff Offutt, died of dehydration in a nursing home in Madisonville, Kentucky.

While a resident of Harborside Healthcare nursing, Offutt allegedly suffered bedsores, malnutrition and infections as well before his death in April 2008, according to the lawsuit.

Offutt was 92 when he was placed in the home after he suffered a stroke. His wife had taken care of him successfully for eight months before the family decided he needed professional care. Just nine days after being placed in Harborside, now known as Hillside Villa Care and Rehabilitation Center, Offutt was transferred to a hospital and died.

The nursing home was issued a citation by Kentucky’s Adult Protective Services officials for failing to properly care for a 92-year-old resident shortly afterwards, but the individual was not identified.

Last Tuesday, a Hopkins County Circuit Court jury found that negligence on behalf of the nursing home staff led to Offutt’s death. They awarded Pearline Offutt, his wife of 58 years, $1 million for negligence resulting in death, $1.75 million for loss of consortium, and then issued a punitive damage award of $40 million against the nursing home for the gross negligence of their actions.

Nursing home punitive damage awards are rare, and according to local media reports, officials from the nursing home say that the punitive damages penalty is excessive and that they intend to appeal the verdict.

Nursing home care experts say that malnutrition, dehydration and bedsores are all preventable ailments which are often signs of nursing home negligence when they appear, particularly when they appear to have gone undetected or untreated for any significant period of time or if they lead to death.

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