Nursing Home Sued in Wrongful Death of Resident

(October 11, 2015) A wrongful death suit filed last week in Miller County accuses a Texarkana, Ark., nursing home of negligence in the May 2014 death of an 83-year old resident. Texarkana lawyer Chad Trammell filed the complaint Oct. 2 on behalf of the wrongful death beneficiaries of Lucille Hughes. Hughes became a resident of the nursing home in December 2005 and lived there until she died at a local hospital of injuries from a fall May 1, 2014, the complaint states.

Hughes had a history of falling well-known to nursing home staff. According to the complaint, Hughes had previously fallen and injured herself in May 2013 and April 2014. “Ms. Hughes fell again on May 1, 2014. She was found lying face down on the floor close to her bed, with blood coming from her head,” the complaint states. Hughes was taken to Wadley Regional Medical Center in Texarkana for treatment, but died of her injuries the same day, the complaint alleges.

According to the complaint, the nursing home is guilty of chronic negligence in Hughes’ care. The complaint accuses the nursing home of allowing Hughes to suffer falls, infections and skin problems such as pressure sores and neglecting her hygiene. The suit accuses the defendants of caring more about profits than patients. To reduce expenses, the facility was understaffed and inadequately trained, and medical record-keeping was poor, the suit alleges.

Named as defendants are Arkansas Nursing and Rehab, Capstone Health Group, owner Kyle Deshotels, Administrator Deanna Prejean and unidentified employees of the nursing home.

The complaint asks for compensatory damages, court costs, attorney fees and punitive damages meant to punish “nursing home defendants for their egregious and malicious misconduct in reckless disregard and conscious indifference to the consequences to Lucille Hughes and to deter (the defendants) and others from repeating such atrocities.”

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Brent Haltom.

A similar case, filed in June on behalf of the family of 79-year old Henry Lee Clayton, contains similar accusations. Clayton died of a severe urinary tract infection in December 2013, according to a complaint filed by Little Rock lawyer Darren O’Quinn.

The Clayton suit accuses the nursing home of ignoring Clayton’s infection until he developed blood poisoning, or sepsis, from which he did not recover. Like the Hughes complaint, the Clayton complaint alleges chronic negligence, poor record-keeping, inadequate staffing and a preference for profits over patients.

The Clayton suit is pending before Circuit Judge Carlton Jones.