Daughter of Deceased Resident Files Complaint Against Nursing Home for Neglect
After an elderly patient died in their care, staff members at Pleasant Valley Nursing and Rehabilitation lied to family members about her cause of death.
Hillary Rudkin recently filed suit against Arkansas Elder Outreach and administrators at Pleasant Valley Nursing and Rehabilitation in Little Rock for nursing home neglect resulting in the wrongful death of her mother, Clara Hoyt. Shawn Daniels, an attorney with Hare Wynn Newell & Newton, filed the suit on Rudkin’s behalf.
Hoyt was a resident of Pleasant Valley Nursing and Rehabilitation for four years and, in that time, fell eight times. Several of these falls were from her bed.
At 5:00 a.m. on March 25, 2016, Hoyt was found unresponsive. According to the nursing home, Ms. Hoyt was found with her knees on the floor, her head resting against the mattress, and her chin pointed toward the side rail, and she was pronounced dead. However, a later autopsy revealed that Hoyt had actually died of “positional asphyxia,” meaning that she suffocated due to the position she was in.
Rudkin was informed by the staff of Pleasant Valley Nursing and Rehabilitation that her mother had died of natural causes. According to the nursing home, Ms. Hoyt must have been distressed from the fall off the bed and suffered a heart attack or some similar event. Strangely, when Rudkin went to see her mother at the home that morning, staff members had placed a towel around Ms. Hoyt’s neck so Rudkin could not see her mother’s neck.
The Pulaski County Coroner and an independent medical examiner conducted investigations and an internal review with the staff of Pleasant Valley Nursing and Rehabilitation, and concluded the manner and cause of Ms. Hoyt’s death was positional asphyxia, precisely the same conclusion as the pathologist who conducted the autopsy.
“Ms. Hoyt’s death was senseless and could have easily been avoided if the staff and administrators at Pleasant Valley Nursing and Rehabilitation had taken care of her, as they were charged to do,” said Daniels. “As if Ms. Hoyt’s death wasn’t tragic enough, the staff of this facility then lied to her family members to cover their wrongdoing. This is absolutely unconscionable and unacceptable.”
Rudkin seeks compensatory and punitive damages for negligence, medical malpractice, wrongful death, violation of the Arkansas Long Term Care Residents’ Rights Act, breach of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and survival causes of action.