Nursing home sued for patient who fell from wheel chair during Ike evacuation

David Yates Nov. 23, 2009, 6:54am

In the midst of the chaos during the evacuation of Hurricane Ike in September 2008, Cindy Zerko fell out of her wheel chair and fractured her hip.

Two weeks later, Zerko died.

Now her daughter, Sharon Zerko, is suing the Regency Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers, alleging the senior center negligently failed to "to initiate an effective fall prevention program."

The suit was filed Nov. 20 in Jefferson County District Court.

According to the suit, Zerko was a resident at one of Regency Nursing's skilled nursing centers. On Sept. 12, 2008, the facility was evacuated. The following day, she fell while attempting to get out of her wheelchair.

Zerko fractured her hip and was treated at St. David's Hospital in Austin, court papers say.

Her medical records show she was doing "very poorly postoperatively" and became very confused, court papers say.

"On Sept. 29, 2008, she was noted by the nurse to be without breathing, heartbeat, or pulse and was pronounced dead. The cause of death listed on the death certificate is hip fracture."

The suit goes on to allege Regency Nursing "ignored" Zerko's needs and failed to "to initiate an effective fall prevention program," which ultimately resulted in her death.

The plaintiff is suing for wrongful death damages.

She is represented by Beaumont attorney Clay Dugas.

Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th Judicial District, is presiding over the case.

Case No. D185-371

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