Trial Team Receives Defense Judgment in Knoxville, Tennessee

Carl Hagwood, Marian McGehee and David Eaton with HAT’s Greenville and Ridgeland, Mississippi, offices recently received a defense judgment in an arbitration proceeding held in Knoxville, Tennessee, in a personal injury/wrongful death action involving a resident of a nursing home.

The claimant alleged the nursing home breached the applicable standard of care because the resident fell three times at the nursing home. The resident was admitted into the nursing home for rehabilitation following a recent bout of altered mental status and weakness related to a urinary tract infection. At the time of admission, the resident had mid-to-late stage Alzheimer’s disease and poor ability to ambulate. The claimant alleged the third fall caused a significant and traumatic brain injury, which led to the exacerbation of the resident’s Alzheimer’s disease and her untimely death.

The nursing home’s defense hinged on educating the arbitration panel about the significance of Alzheimer’s disease in a resident who is ambulatory and a high risk for falling. The nursing home’s fact and expert witnesses relied on the nursing home’s documentation of the falls when demonstrating to the panel that the nursing home staff timely and appropriately implemented proper fall risk interventions. There is no intervention that can prevent a fall with an ambulatory resident suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

The arbitration panel found the claimant failed to carry her burden of proof and dismissed the matter with prejudice finding in favor of the nursing home as the prevailing party.