A Kings (Brooklyn) County jury recently returned a $19 million verdict in favor of the family of 76 year-old nursing home resident, John Danzy, who developed more than 20 bedsores (pressure sores/decubiti) at Brooklyn-Queens Nursing Home. The award included $3.75 million for pain and suffering and $15 million in punitive damages. Mr. Danzy died from sepsis the source of which was the infected bedsores.
At trial, it became apparent that staff members at Brooklyn-Queens Nursing Home had falsified records in Mr. Danzy's medical chart in attempt to cover-up the neglect. In addition, the nursing home staff reportedly failed to turn and position Mr. Danzy at appropriate intervals (the standard is that those "at risk" to develop bedsores should be turned and positioned at least every 2 hours).
The jury deliberated for two days after the four week trial before returning the verdict. The verdict is reportedly the first in New York to assess punitive damages against a nursing home.
Senior-home hell, NY Post, Alex Ginsberg, December 28, 2009.