Nursing Home Negligence - $390,000

Wrongful Death - Medication Allergy $390,000
Injuries alleged
: Death
Court: Withheld
Amount of settlement: $390,000

Case Summary:
Plaintiff's decedent, an 85-year-old widower, was admitted to the defendant nursing home from Brigham & Women's Hospital. The hospital's discharge summary, which was faxed to the nursing home, stated that the plaintiff's decedent had a history of allergy to Dilantin which manifested itself as a 'severe skin reaction.' Two days after she was admitted, the plaintiff's decedent was seen by the defendant primary physician who wrote a history of dementia status post-ETOH abuse and other diagnoses but failed to list the Dilantin allergy.

The decedent remained a resident of the defendant nursing home for approximately 1 1/2 months. During this time, there were a number of conflicting notes made in her chart with respect to her Dilantin allergy, which was noted in numerous places in her medical chart but not prominently.
One-and-a-half months after her admission to the nursing home, the decedent was found in her chair twitching which was interpreted as possible seizure activity. The charge nurse contacted the primary physician who ordered transfer to a local hospital. At that time, the charge nurse filled out a 'transfer and referral record' which accompanied the decedent to this hospital. In the space marked 'allergies,' the transfer order contained the nomenclature 'NKA' which is the recognized medical shorthand for 'no known allergy.' On the day of her admission, the decedent was administered two doses of Dilantin 300 mg orally for the reported seizure activity per the order of the defendant physician. Subsequent to the administration of the Dilantin, the plaintiff's decedent developed severe exfoliative dermatitis and was transferred to Massachusetts General Hospital where she continued to deteriorate and died three weeks later.

The administratrix (one of two surviving adult children) brought suit against the nursing home, several nurses, and the primary physician. Plaintiff's counsel negotiated a settlement in the amount of $390,000 with all defendants