Patient with dementia sues nursing home after fall

David Yates Sep. 4, 2007, 9:00am

Senior citizen Melba Taff, 77, says because she was suffering from dementia while living at the PHP Oaks at Beaumont nursing home, the facility had an obligation to minimize her falling risks.

Taff is suing Pinnacle Health Facilities of Texas, owners of the Beaumont nursing home, for "failing to implement a comprehensive care plan" designed to keep her from falling out of her bed and fracturing her hip.

Through attorney Adam Terrell, Taff filed her personal injury lawsuit with the Jefferson County District Court on Aug. 29.

According to the plaintiff's original petition, three days after admission into the nursing home, Taff fell from her bed and fractured her hip.

"Despite her mental and physical condition and recent history of falling, defendant failed to implement a care plan for Taff to prevent and minimize fall risks and injuries," the suit said. "Plaintiff alleges that Defendant, its agents, servants and employees, violated their duty of care owed to Plaintiff to exercise that degree of care, skill, and diligence ordinarily possessed and used by other health care providers in good standing under the same or similar circumstances."

The suit does not indicate the date the plaintiff was injured, but does list the following acts of negligence:

* Failing to implement a care plan for Plaintiff for the safety and prevention of falls;
* Failing to use bed and chair alarms on Plaintiffs bed;
* Failing to utilize bed rails;
* Failing to keep Plaintiffs bed in a low position to minimize injury in the event of
* a fall;
* Failing to perform ongoing nursing assessments to identify actual and potential
* problems relating to Plaintiffs health and safety;
* Failing to make appropriate nursing diagnoses based on ongoing nursing assessments;
* Failing to develop a comprehensive plan of care for problem areas, goals for positive outcomes and specific nursing interventions to prevent adverse outcomes from known problem areas;
* Failing to implement the plan of care on Plaintiffs behalf;
* Failure to evaluate Plaintiffs response to the implementation of the plan of care and through ongoing assessments;
* And failure to update the plan of care consistent with Plaintiffs response thereto.

Taff is suing for past and future physical pain, mental anguish, medical expenses and physical impairment. She is demanding a trail by jury.

Attorney Terrell is a partner with the Weller, Green, Toups & Terrell law firm.

Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th Judicial District, will preside over the case.

Case No. D179-920

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