Dan Packard

The family of Alice Wyatt claim their matriarch's final days were filled with unnecessary pain and suffering. They are suing the hospital, nursing home and medical personnel entrusted with Wyatt's care.

Joseph E. Wyatt, along with three other family members, filed their wrongful death suit against the South East Texas Medical Associates, Kountze Nursing Center, Memorial Hermann Health Care System and Dr. Mark Wilson with the Jefferson County District Court on Aug. 29.

According to the plaintiffs' original petition, on or about April 11, 2005, Alice Wyatt was admitted to Kountze Nursing Center for care and treatment. During her stay there, her needs were allegedly not met.

"She was not adequately assessed, the care plan did not properly account for her needs; she was not adequately nourished, was not adequately hydrated, not adequately repositioned, was not given the correct equipment, not adequately monitored and not adequately medicated," the suit said.

"In short, she was neglected by the nursing and support staff at the facility," the suit said. "This negligent treatment occurred throughout her stay, but got much worse toward the end. The care and treatment Mrs. Wyatt received while at Kountze Nursing Center was below the standard of care."

Additionally, her treating physician, Dr. Mark Wilson, and his physician's assistants, who work for the SETMA, allegedly "negligently failed to adequately monitor her condition and failed to make the orders necessary to prevent and treat the wounds that she developed. Such treatment was below the standard of care," the suit said.

In their suit, the family goes on to claim Mrs. Wyatt developed malnourishment, severe bedsores, infections and other related complications that were preventable if her caregivers had adhered to the standard of care.

"She required additional medical care and ultimately died on Nov. 16, 2005, as a result of the neglect she experienced," the suit said. "Plaintiffs allege that Mrs. Wyatt's death was proximately caused by the negligent treatment she suffered at the hands of the defendants."

The suit goes on to say the defendants had cause to believe that Wyatt was being abused and neglected but failed to report the information to the Department of Human Resources or to a local or state law enforcement agency.

"Statutes were created to protect persons in the class of Mrs. Wyatt, who are elderly and rely on others for their care, treatment and supervision," the suit said. "The harm that befell Mrs. Wyatt while under the care and supervision of Defendants was the type of harm these statutes were designed to prevent. Consequently, the acts and omissions of Defendants constitute negligence per Se."

The suit lists the following acts of alleged negligence:

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Failing to provide Mrs. Wyatt with proper care and treatment;
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Failing to properly and adequately supervise the nursing staff assigned to the care and treatment of Mrs. Wyatt;
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Failing to assign and provide an adequate staff of nurses and nurse aides to adequately care for and treat Mrs. Wyatt;
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Failing to provide a safe environment for Mrs. Wyatt;
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Failing to prevent complications in Mrs. Wyatt;
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Failing to properly delegate nursing care to nursing personnel commensurate with their education, experience and training;
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Failing to evaluate Mrs. Wyatt's response to nursing care;
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Failing to observe, assess, monitor, record, and report to physician signs and symptoms of resulting changes in Mrs. Wyatt's medical and physical condition;
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Failing to properly maintain Mrs. Wyatt;
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Failing to instruct the nurses and nurse aides on the assessment and evaluation of deterioration of Mrs. Wyatt's condition;
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Failing to provide properly trained and experienced competent professional nurses on a 24-hour basis;
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Failing to implement a plan of care by the proper assessment of available objective and subjective data collected on Mrs. Wyatt;
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Failing to make sound nursing judgments based on available data;
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Failing to instruct the nurses and nurse aides on the proper care of a patient with Mrs. Wyatt's condition;
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Failing to turn Mrs. Wyatt every two hours;
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And in failing to practice treatment and services necessary to prevent ulcers from developing and/or worsening on Mrs. Wyatt's body.

The plaintiffs are suing for survival damages, and for Wyatt's mental anguish, pain and suffering, medical expenses, plus wrongful death damages and loss of consortium.

They are demanding a trial by jury and are represented by attorney by Daniel Packard of Packard, Packard & Lapray.

Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd Judicial District, has been assigned to the case.

Case No. E179-916

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