Lydia continued to visit her husband regularly and on April 7, 2006 she transferred him to the 24-hour care facility, Liberty Manor Residency, in Phoenix, Arizona. One month later Earl was dead and the medical examiner decided it was due in part to several foreign objects found in his stomach and small intestines. These foreign objects included plastic bags, paper towels, and unopened catsup packets.
Lydia Scherrer sued Liberty Manor Residency for abuse and neglect, wrongful death, and punitive damages. She received the largest verdict ever awarded against an assisted living facility, $11 million.
We do our homework and we investigate and we ask all the important questions and we take tours and so on and so on and then we finally make what we think is an informed decision. We entrust these places with our loved ones and we walk away, hoping and praying that we have made the right decision, one of the most important decisions we will ever make. We walk away believing that the place we have chosen will provide everything they have promised. Yet, we continue to see too many of these tragedies in the news.
When you or a loved one is placed into a medical facility, ANY medical facility (hospital, nursing home, extended care facility, rehab, etc..), it is of paramount importance that you visit as regularly as you can, and that you keep your eyes and ears open. As lay people we understand little about medicine, but we truly don’t need to be health care professionals to often see when our loved ones are receiving less than adequate treatment. Everyone needs a friend, and when a medical inpatient, everyone needs an advocate---an extra set of eyes and ears to watch what is happening. Never be afraid to ask questions to gain a full understanding of policies and procedures. Never be afraid to voice concerns of the treatment of a loved one. If you believe that mistreatment is happening, demand to see the patient advocate or director of the clinic. If you are not satisfied, call the Arizona Attorney General’s office, which has the obligation and authority under Arizona law to investigate patient abuse. Lastly, keep in mind there are attorneys who specialize in personal injury and nursing homes cases, who can help during, and after neglect or abuse has occurred.
We hear and see too many stories of neglect and abuse of the infirm and elderly. As our population grows older, we need to be much more careful, mindful and observant of our loved ones who require these facilities. We never want the neglect or abuse to come to a lawsuit. Hopefully, this verdict will make it clear to these facilities that we will continue to hold them accountable for the care of our family members and loved ones.