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Patient Neglect Costs New York City Nursing Home $19 Million at Trial

In early December, 2009, a Brooklyn, New York jury awarded $19 million to the family of a neglected nursing home patient. The victim, John Danzy, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, was placed by his family into the Brooklyn Queens Nursing Home after it became to difficult to provide him with proper care in their home.

They pulled him from nursing facility nine months later after becoming alarmed at the poor quality of care he had been receiving there. By that time, he had lost nearly 100 pounds and was suffering from twenty serious bed sores. Mr. Danzy was then placed into a different nursing home, but the damage had been done. He died six months later from an infection that resulted from the bed sores he suffered at the first facility.

The $19 million which the jury awarded to the family in the suit they brought against the nursing home included $3.75 million for Mr. Danzy’s pain and suffering and $15 million in punitive damages. According to Fox News, it was the first time a jury has awarded punitive damages in a case against a nursing home New York State.

According to lawyer Dennis Kelly, the punitive damages were awarded because evidence indicated that the nursing home tried to cover-up its neglect of Mr. Danzy. Nursing staff are responsible for checking patients for sores and other skin conditions, and making note of any conditions that require medical attention. But the records for Mr. Danzy clearly showed about one hundred “Gs”—denoting good skin condition—which were subsequently written over with the letter “B”, meaning areas of broken skin. It was this falsification of records which merited the punitive damages.

The suit also alleged that Mr. Danzy, who was bedridden, was only moved by the nursing staff just once, at most, every four hours. Medical standards require bedridden patients to be moved at least once every two hours. At the time Mr. Danzy’s family placed him in the Brooklyn Queens Nursing Home it was the only nearby facility which had an available bed.

Nursing home abuse is not always as evident as criminal assault or harassment. More often, abuse is seen in the form of neglect or substandard care. Signs of nursing home neglect or abuse include poor hygiene of residents, residents wearing unclean or inappropriate clothing, hazardous conditions, bed sores, wounds and sudden weight loss or dehydration. The appearance of depression and complaints of being restrained for extended periods of time also may indicate nursing home malpractice. Since nursing home patients cannot often communicate abuse to their loved ones or authorities, it is extremely important to pay close attention for these warning signs.

Placing a loved one in a nursing facility is difficult enough without having to worry about the quality of care received. Our attorneys have successfully defended the rights of thousands of elder care abuse victims and their families. If you, or someone you know, have been a victim of elder care abuse, please contact us at for a free consultation. Our attorneys are available to assist in all aspects of your litigation.

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Gavin P. Lentz, Esq.
Bochetto & Lentz

Gavin Lentz (right) was selected as a "Super Lawyer" for 2006-2009 in New Jersey by Philadelphia Magazine. He has also been selected as a "Super Lawyer" by Philadelphia Magazine and the Legal Intelligencer in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007.

On September 16, 2002 Mr. Lentz was selected as one of the top 50 lawyers in Pennsylvania by the Legal Intelligencer.

He has made many television appearances, including on Fox News, The Today Show, Inside Edition, and The Phil Donahue Show.

Mr. Lentz is a member of the American Trial Lawyers Association and the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

As a former prosecutor, he knows how to aggressively go after a nursing home to prove the facts necessary to protect your loved one's rights.

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