$14 Million Awarded in Nursing Home Negligence Lawsuit

Whitney Taylor | August 4th, 2014

nursing home negligence lawsuitA jury has awarded $14 million to the family of a 90-year-old woman who died after it was determined she suffered severe neglect in a Massachusetts nursing home.

The verdict in this nursing home negligence lawsuit was the largest on record for Massachusetts, with the bulk of the award comprised of punitive damages against Radius Healthcare Center.

Multiple injuries and conditions lead to elder’s death

In 2008, Genevieve Calandro was rushed to a nearby hospital after falling out of her wheelchair at the nursing home located in Danvers. The elderly patient was diagnosed with a festering pressure sore on her back, as well as a severe urinary tract infection and acute appendicitis. In addition, Calandro was suffering kidney failure, severe dehydration and uncontrollable diabetes.

Despite efforts by hospital staff to treat Calandro’s multiple medical conditions, Calandro died one month later. Her family filed a lawsuit against Radius, alleging “gross neglect” was a contributing factor in the elderly woman’s death. In July, a jury agreed with those allegations, awarding Calandro’s family $1.5 million in compensatory damages and $12.5 million in punitive damages.

Large punitive damages “unusual” in state

The large amount in punitive damages is highly unusual for jury verdicts in Massachusetts, according to attorneys involved with this case. Although Radius agreed during the lawsuit that there was a breach in the standard of care provided to Calandro, the company argued that it was not a significant cause of her death. However, the jury sided with the plaintiffs in determining gross negligence on the part of nursing home staff was indeed a primary cause of death in this case.

Calandro’s youngest son, Garry Calandro, told the Boston Globe that the family could tell Calandro had not been feeling well prior to her collapse and questioned nursing home employees about the issue. Employees assured family members Calandro’s fever was due to a virus going around the nursing home and that staff was on top of Calandro’s condition and care. Gary Calandro added that the goal of the lawsuit was to call attention to serious problems in the medical industry.

Radius is now out of business, along with four other companies in Massachusetts involved with operating a chain of nursing homes in the state. The jury was provided this information before deliberations began in the case. The judge overseeing the nursing home negligence lawsuit, Superior Court Judge Peter B. Krupp also told the jury that punitive damages can also be used to prevent similar problems from occurring in other nursing homes.

Elder abuse and neglect on the rise

According to the American Psychological Association, approximately four million elderly Americans are the victims of abuse or neglect every year in this country. Although the vast majority of abusers are family members, many elderly patients in nursing homes also face neglect and abuse from the very people paid to provide them with quality care. As the number of elderly is projected to climb significantly in this country over the next four decades, problems of abuse and neglect may continue to rise as well.

Sadly, the large majority of situations involving elder neglect and abuse may go unreported. Part of the reason for this alarming statistic is the fact that the patients and their family members may not know where to go for the help and support they need.

The good news is New York nursing home neglect lawyers are experienced in handling these cases, and will work hard to get victims and their families the legal compensation they are entitled so the abuse can stop and victims can find a higher quality of care elsewhere.

Options for filing a nursing home negligence lawsuit

As this Massachusetts lawsuit proves, it is never acceptable to neglect or abuse an elderly individual who is relying on the professional care at a nursing facility. If you or a family member has experienced similar neglect, help is available. The Sanders Firm can help you protect your rights and pursue monetary damages to which you are rightfully entitled. With more than 45 years of litigation experience, our attorneys offer the experience and knowledge necessary to win your case. Call us toll-free today at 1.800.FAIR.PLAY for a free evaluation of your case.