Woman sues over husband's nursing home fall

David Yates Jul. 14, 2008, 9:45am

Since nursing home staff found him in a pool of his own blood two years ago, Clifford Ozen has suffered from seizures and decreased mobility, court papers say.

Claiming that the Senior Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center in Port Arthur allowed her husband to fall from his bed, Sharon Ozen filed suit against the healthcare provider July 9 in Jefferson County District Court.

On July 28, 2006, Sharon Ozen visited her husband at the 199-bed rehabilitation facility. After leaving the center, Sharon received a call and was advised that her husband was being rushed to the hospital, the plaintiff's petition says.

"According to Mr. Ozen's chart, an aide called a nurse because he was found on the floor with his head lying against the frame of the bedside table," the lawsuit said. "Defendant's staff observed blood on the floor in a puddle, as well as a contusion and laceration to the top of Mr. Ozen's head."

Since the fall, Clifford Ozen has suffered from seizures and has been bedridden.

Upon his admission to the nursing home in January 2006, Clifford was diagnosed with dementia, confusion, wandering and an unsteady gait.

His wife consented to the use of restraints to protect him, the suit says.

"The only safety precautions being utilized for Mr. Ozen were side rails on his bed and geriatric chair," the suit says. "These precautions were used only intermittently. Further, during his stay, he was unable to ambulate himself and had an impaired safety awareness."

Sharon alleges she informed the nursing home staff of her concerns, but the healthcare provider negligently failed to assess her husband's risk for falling.

The nursing home also allegedly "failed to adequately protect him from falling in light of his confusion, agitation and impaired safety awareness."

Sharon is suing for her husband's past and future medical expenses, impairment and mental anguish, plus economic damages and attorneys' fees.

She is represented by attorney Barry Bennett of the Eddins & Bennett Law Firm.

Senior Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center is owned by Victoria, Texas-based Regency Nursing & Rehabilitation Centers, Inc.

Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th Judicial District, has been assigned to the case.

Case No. D182-029

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