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Verdict in NY includes punitives for cover up

Published on January 28th, 2010

Fox News ran a NY Post article on the verdict against a Brooklyn nursing home.  Brooklyn Queens Nursing Home will have to compensate the family of a 76-year-old patient neglected so badly that he left with more than 20 bedsores. The verdict of nearly $19 million, handed down by a jury, is the first in the state against a nursing home that includes punitive damages.

"It was horrible," said Margaret Whitehurst, who pulled her father, John Danzy, from the home after just nine months. "He walked in on two legs and a cane. He was 237 pounds. When we got him back, he was 148 pounds and he had holes all over his body."  She and her siblings moved Danzy, a retired truck driver and butcher, to another nursing home. He died as a result to an infection caused by the bedsores.

A Brooklyn jury deliberated two full days following the four-week trial before finding the Cypress Hills facility delivered substandard care.  The panel awarded $3.75 million for Danzy’s pain and suffering, but tacked on $15 million in punitive damages, based in part  that the home had doctored records to try to cover up the neglect.

An FBI expert testified that about 100 different skin-check notes showing "G" for "good" had been penned over to show "B" for "broken" — an effort by the home to claim it hadn’t missed the horrific sores.  "Someone went back and wrote B’s over the G’s to cover their tracks, so they falsified the records, he said. "We believe that once they found out they were being sued, they went back and said, ‘How could we have G’s here when they guy has 20 sores?’ "

The nursing home restrained the Alzheimer’s-stricken Danzy to keep him from wandering off, but left him alone for long periods.  Medical standards require that bedridden or restrained patients be moved every two hours to prevent such sores, but that Brooklyn-Queens only moved Danzy every four hours — if at all.

 

Joe Pioletti
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