Nursing Home Settles Wrongful Death Suit, Daughter Still Wants Answers
Wrongful death lawsuits are not always about the money. When her mother passed away in 2009, Ms. Garrett was left with her grief and a host of unanswered questions. A resident at a nursing home, her mother had some health issues and would easily choke when eating. One time when she was eating, she began to choke and a maintenance person saved her life with the Heimlich maneuver. After that, Ms. Garrett was promised by the nursing home staff that her mother’s food would be cut up small enough that she would not choke.
Then in 2009, the nursing home contacted Ms. Garrett to tell her that her mother had died. After receiving conflicting stories about how it happened, she looked at the death certificate. It listed the cause of death as several things including heart disease and kidney disease. But when the nursing home administrator was questioned by her, he stated that her mother had choked once again, but this time she did not survive. A disagreement ensued regarding whether or not anyone at the home attempted to help or resuscitate the victim since there was not a signed “do not resuscitate” form on file.
Ms. Garrett ultimately filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the nursing home. The home settled the suit for $35,000, some of which was paid back to the home for her mother’s stay. The settlement amount may seem to be a small amount to receive for the death of one’s parent. But Ms. Garrett says she was not looking for financial compensation and didn’t even want to file a lawsuit in the first place; “I don't want people to lose their jobs because we need the home.” So why did she do it?
“I just want answers” she said, and she did not see any other way to get the information she was looking for. Understandably, when a wrongful death occurs, those who were close to or involved in the situation may not want to share any of their knowledge about what happened for fear of being held responsible or getting someone else in trouble. You can ask as many questions as you like, and they may still refuse to answer. Ms. Garrett had asked for answers and even contacted the state Department of Health, which started an investigation. She still did not know exactly what caused her mother’s death.
So she filed a civil lawsuit. If the lawsuit had gone to trial, those that were around her mother at the time of her death could have been subpoenaed for depositions and as trial witnesses, so the truth would have come out. But because the case settled before going to trial, no one was legally bound to say anything. If you have lost a loved one and are seeking answers and closure, a Kentucky wrongful death attorney can help you determine the proper course of action to take to obtain the information you desire.
County home settles lawsuit; The Post-Journal; Eric Tichy; April 15, 2012