An assisted living center faced a wrongful death lawsuit after one patient beat another patient to death on their watch. In most states, COVID immunity rules prevented lawsuits from being filed against healthcare clinics, nursing homes, and hospitals that could prove COVID hardship. The malpractice need not necessarily be related to COVID in order to trigger the immunity. But in this case, the court shot down the assisted living center’s defense that COVID immunity should apply to this incident.
According to the lawsuit, the 80-year-old victim shared an adjoining room with a fellow dementia care patient. The dementia care patient attacked and beat the other patient who was transported to a hospital where he died a few days later. The family blamed the facility for negligently caring for their loved one.
Rules and regulations
In professional malpractice lawsuits, including medical malpractice, the government applies specific standards to cases. All assisted living communities have a duty of care to discharge patients that they can no longer care for. In a situation where one dementia patient is violent, an assisted living situation would provide them with more freedom than their needs required. In this case, the nursing home was faulted for not transferring the patient to a facility that could better meet his needs and as a result of that inaction, another patient died.
A fine was levied against the nursing home for failing to look after its residents. No charges were filed against the attacker due to his diminished capacity. He has hopefully been moved to a different facility.
After the court rejected the defendant’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds of COVID immunity, a settlement was reached between the family and the assisted living center. The terms of that settlement have not been disclosed. The assisted living center continues to maintain that the allegations made by the plaintiff are untrue. However, the assisted living center did not specify which allegations they were claiming were untrue.
In a case like this, the attacker’s conduct and case file would be looked over to determine if the nursing home should have moved to discharge the patient earlier. In this case, a settlement was reached which will likely prevent the plaintiffs from discussing the allegations further. In addition, the assisted living center will not have to admit liability for the matter.
Cases like this are fraught with complications simply because medical services are involved. Yet an assisted living center would have the same duty of care that a landlord did to their tenants. In fact, the assisted living center has a greater duty of care since their residents have dementia. In this case, an oversight in their duty of care led to the death of a resident. Hence, they are liable for the death.
Talk to a Tampa Assisted Living Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in assisted living, the Tampa personal injury attorneys at Palmer | Lopez have experience litigating these types of cases. Call today to schedule a free consultation and we can begin preparing your claim immediately.