The NT

    The family of a patient of Life Care Center of Rochester who died after suffering a serious head injury has filed a nursing home neglect and wrongful death claim that challenges the validity of the Indiana Adult Wrongful Death Act.

    The lawsuit filed in Howard County names multiple corporations and individuals alleged to have been responsible for the care at the nursing home facility.

    The complaint alleges that the nursing home patient was allowed to suffer multiple falls after becoming a patient of the dementia unit, ultimately suffering an injury to the head including massive subdural bleeding and brain swelling. The patient was admitted to the hospital after the second fall, where she died two days later.

    The complaint alleges that those responsible for the care at Life Care Center of Rochester “knowingly understaffed the facility and placed its patient population in serious and clearly foreseeable danger of harm and injury.”

    The complaint states that an Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) investigation of the Life Care Center of Rochester facility around the time period of the patient’s admission revealed serious care failures that were “strongly indicative of serious systemic failures in the hiring, staffing, training, oversight and management” of the facility.

    “We cannot allow huge for-profit nursing home chains being paid billions of dollars to care for their patients to so egregiously skimp on nursing staff to boost their bottom line, with a callous disregard for the patients they harm and kill as a result,” said Jeff Powless, one of the attorneys representing the family of the victim.

    Life Care Centers of America, Inc. is a Cleveland, Tenn., based for-profit corporation which manages or owns more than 220 skilled nursing homes across the U.S., according to the complaint. (www.lcca.com)

    The complaint states that the named defendants “have engaged in a history and pattern of practice of wrongfully choosing to place corporate profits over the needs of their patients.” In support of that allegation, the complaint states that Life Care Centers of America, Inc. was the subject of a Federal False Claims Act lawsuit brought by the U.S. Justice Department that was settled for $147 Million in 2016.

    According to the complaint, the family of the victim plans to challenge the constitutionality of Indiana’s Adult Wrongful Death Statute.

    Indiana’s Adult Wrongful Death statute states that the total damages that may be recovered against a negligent defendant proven to have killed the victim is $300,000 for loss of the “love and companionship” of the deceased individual. (I.C. 34-23-1-2(e)) Indiana law does not allow any recovery for the pain and suffering of a victim killed by a defendant’s negligence. (I.C.34-9-3-4)