Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jan 6, 2020

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A Kentucky jury awarded a woman who eventually had to have one of her legs amputated due to nursing home negligence $7.5 million in damages – $5 million of that award constituted punitive damages meant to punish the nursing home for its outrageous behavior.

Nursing Home Negligence

This nursing home lawsuit involves Grace Fugate, a previously active Kentucky woman, who was recuperating from a knee replacement in Hillcrest Nursing Home in Corbin, Kentucky. According to news reports, Fugate needed to use the bedside toilet and pressed her call button for assistance. However, the nurse that answered her call told her that she was too busy and that she must do it herself. The nurse put the bed’s side rail down, put Fugate’s call button out of her reach and started to leave the room. Fugate pleaded with her that she only needed help on and off the toilet and that the nurse didn’t have to stay. The nurse turned and left and Fugate attempted it on her own, but fell to the floor, rupturing her knee all over again.

Another nurse who found Fugate on the floor testified that it was the worst accident she had seen in 20 years of nursing and did not want to move her until paramedics arrived. However, by the time they arrived, Fugate’s open knee had already been infected by urination where she had fallen at the nursing home. After two months in the hospital and several surgeries, doctors had to amputate her right leg.

Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit

Fugate hired an experienced Kentucky elder care attorney and filed a nursing home abuse lawsuit against the nursing home for its negligent behavior. Although Fugate could not attend the trial due to her ailing health, a jury awarded her $7.5 million in damages after deliberating for less than two hours. The award consisted of $383,000 for past medical expenses, $766,000 for future medical expenses, $1 million for pain and suffering and $5 million for punitive damages.

Nursing Home Abuse / Nursing Home Neglect Too Common

Nursing home abuse is more common than most of us think. Although often called elder abuse or elder care abuse, nursing home abuse is not limited to senior citizens, or to nursing homes for that matter. Nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect affects all ages and occurs in other facilities such as assisted living facilities, adult day care and in home health care situations.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or nursing home neglect, it’s important to know that help from experienced elder care attorneys in your state is available right away’ even if it’s just to find out whether the behavior qualifies as nursing home abuse or nursing home neglect and if you might have a lawsuit.