Nursing home blamed for woman's back injuries

David Yates Jul. 14, 2008, 10:00am

Clay Dugas

While a resident of Gulf Health Care Center-Port Arthur, Mary Bayard had a history of falling. Two years ago, she started complaining of back pain.

Now deceased, Bayard's benefactor, Ernest Bayard, has filed a lawsuit on her behalf against Gulf Health Care Center, claiming the healthcare provider failed to prevent her from falling and caused her back injury.

The lawsuit was filed July 10 in the Jefferson County District Court.

The plaintiff's petition says while a resident of Gulf Health Care, Mary Bayard had a series of falls. On June 26, 2006, she was found lying on the floor at the side of her bed.

She had a second fall on July 6, 2006, in the bathroom. She had additional falls on Aug. 2, 2006; Aug. 14, 2006; and Aug. 22, 2006.

"On July 18, 2006, Mrs. Bayard was complaining of back pain that was quite severe," the suit says.

An X-ray showed that Mary Bayard had a mild compression of the TII vertebra. A subsequent bone scan showed an "intense uptake in the 11th thoracic vertebra" and a CT scan confirmed a compression fracture of the thoracic vertebra, the complaint says.

"There was evidence that this compression fracture had progressed," the suit states. "On July 27, 2006, she had a vertebroplasty of the 11th thoracic vertebra," the plaintiff's petition says.

The lawsuit claims Gulf Health Care was negligent for failing to take steps to reduce Bayard's fall risk, including failing to lower her bed and place a mat underneath her bed.

The lawsuit included the medical opinion of Dr. Lige B. Rushing, a Dallas physician.

Rushing wrote that he believed the healthcare provider negligently failed to keep Mary Bayard from falling and that a result of her repeated falls, her back was injured.

Ernest Bayard is suing for Mary Bayard's physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, impairment and medical expenses.

He is represented by the Beaumont law firm of Clay Dugas & Associates.

Judge Bob Wortham of the 58th Judicial District has been assigned to the case.

Case No. A182-033

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