Another suit alleges Pine Forest allowed patient to fall

By David Yates | Dec 4, 2007

Clay Dugas

Another medical-malpractice lawsuit alleging that the Pine Forest Nursing and Rehabilitation Center failed to supervise patients and allowed them to fall has been filed against the care provider.

James Jennis, representative of the estate of Inez Jennis, claims Pine Forest physicians and staff hastened Jennis' death by allowing her to repeatedly fall. A lawsuit was filed by attorney Clay Dugas on Dec. 3.

This is the second suit filed against Pine Forest in Jefferson County District Court in a week.

As reported by the Record, Onita L. Bennett, representative of the estate of Elwood H. Bennett, filed a medical malpractice suit against Pine Forest Nursing in Jefferson County District Court on Nov. 26. She is represented by attorney Dan Packard.

According to Jennis' petition, Inez Jennis had her first documented fall at Pine Forest Nursing on Dec. 10, 2005, "at which time she should have been considered a high fall risk."

"There were no additional fall risk assessments completed during her residency," the suit said. "Mrs. Jennis experienced additional falls on Dec. 26, 2005, Jan. 9, 2006, and Jan. 15, 2006."

After the Jan. 15 fall, Inez was transferred to Memorial Hermann Baptist Hospital and treated for a fracture of the neck of the left femur, the suit said.

"While under the care and control of the defendant, lnez Jennis continuously suffered gross abuse, extensive neglect and undue pain," the suit said. "Mrs. Jennis' basic needs were ignored and (her) sic dignity was disregarded."

Medical opinions are attached to the suit to support the plaintiff's allegations.

In one opinion, Dr. Glenda Joiner-Rogers, also a registered nurse, writes, "Ms. Jennis had multiple falls while a resident of Pine Forest Nursing Home. The first documented fall occurred on Dec. 10, 2005, at which time Ms. Jennis should have been considered a high fall risk. No additional fall risk assessments were completed during her stay.

"After the first fall, Ms. Jennis became a resident who was at high risk for falls and the standard of care in this instance required Pine Forest Nursing Home and its nursing staff to do the following:

  • Provide Ms. Jennis with a bed/wheelchair alarm while in bed or seated in a wheelchair;

  • Provide Ms. Jennis with well-fitting and skid-proof footwear;

  • Provide physical assistance for Ms. Jennis during each and every transfer and ambulation.

    "Review of the records reveals that none of the above steps were taken. Therefore, it is my opinion, based on reasonable nursing probability, the nurses' conduct fell below the standard of care and was hence negligent."

    The suit says Inez Jennis sustained mental anguish "of an almost incalculable nature, including the obvious mental anguish which necessarily accompanied the extensive injuries" during her stay.

    James Jennis is bringing his claim against Pine Forest under a Texas civil practice survival statute.

    He is suing for Inez's mental anguish, plus all court costs and pre and post judgment interest.

    James Jennis is requesting a trial by jury and is represented by attorney Clay Dugas.

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

    Case No. E180-848

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