This week, the estate of a woman who died in 2008 after suffering from weeks of neglect was awarded $14.5 million in a negligence and wrongful death case.
In 2008, 90-year-old Genevieve Calandro fell out of her wheelchair at her Danvers nursing home. She was taken to the hospital. There, doctors discovered that she was suffering from multiple symptoms of neglect. She had acute appendicitis, a severe urinary track infection, diabetes, severe dehydration, and kidney failure. Doctors attempted to treat the infections, but Calandro died from them a month later.
After deliberation, the Middlesex jury decided to award the Calandro family $14 million — the largest assisted living facilities related award given out in Massachusetts within the last 10 years. The high award amount is intended to serve as a warning for other assisted living homes, and was given due to the profound state of negligence in which Calandro was found.
“That is the only way to send a message, or to punish people, and somebody in that business certainly needs to look at it with a more serious manner than just as a big money-making business,” said Garry Calandro, her youngest son, regarding the award. The majority of the award was for punitive damages, since the jury found that the negligence was a “substantial contributing factor” in Calandro’s death.
According to Calandro, he and others had observed that his mother seemed unwell, yet multiple times he was told that her fever and seeming illness were due to a virus going around the nursing home.
The $14 million award is unusual for its size, and those involved with the case are hoping it will serve as a message for senior homes that they are tasked with taking care of human lives, and that things like short staffing and sub-par training create environments where poor quality care is likely to occur. Elizabeth Mulvey, a Boston elderly homes lawyer not associated with the case, agrees with this. “Old people have a value and need to be treated with dignity and care,” she said in an interview with the Boston Globe.
As this case proves, it’s important for families to research elderly homes, and their reputations, before placing a loved one. Good references here.
All deaths are tragic, but a death that could have been avoided is devastating. It can rip families apart and loved ones might never be the same again. In many cases, these are considered wrongful deaths and end up in court. If this happens, you’ll need a wrongful death lawyer. They will handle the legal aspects and try to get compensation for the family. This often comes from wrongful death insurance coverage if the person was killed on the job. An auto accident wrongful death case might also go after the other driver for the money. While nothing will bring the dead person back, a wrongful death insurance settlement can often help those that depended on the dead person pay their bills and take care of themselves for a while. Since there’s no longer that paycheck coming in, they need to be taken care of. The wrongful death lawsuit amount will vary from case to case, but all cases should be done under the expertise of a wrongful death lawyer in order to get it done with the most skill and compassion possible.