On January 10, 2020, $5,000,000 in pain and suffering and punitive damages was awarded for the death of Regina Tallent in a Paducah, Kentucky nursing home. The allegedly negligent nursing home failed to monitor and institute an appropriate diet for Tallent, whose death was a result of choking. Tad Thomas, of Thomas Law Offices, represented Ms. Tallent and her family.
Regina Tallent, 84, had Parkinson’s Disease and several other conditions, including macular degeneration, general weakness, missing teeth, hand contractures, and cognitive defects, that increased her chances of choking. The nursing home she resided in was supposed to follow her doctor’s orders for a mechanical soft diet. They failed to do so, however, and Tallent suffered two documented choking incidents in one month. The second incident resulting in her turning blue, losing consciousness, and requiring the Heimlich maneuver eight times in order to dislodge a cherry tomato.
Two months after that second incident, Tallent began choking at lunch. The CNA nearby “froze and didn’t know what to do.” Tallent was taken to the nurses station, but it was too late. The Heimlich maneuver was unsuccessful, and she died before her daughter arrived at the nursing home.
After three choking incidents, the last being fatal, Ms. Tallent’s family brought a lawsuit against the facility for failing to monitor and institute an appropriate diet in light of the choking risks she faced. The lawsuit also stated the nursing home failed to investigate the choking incidents, failed to update the care plan, and failed to train their staff to properly supervise residents at risk of choking. Additionally, there was evidence of charting fraud and missing records.
As a result of the lawsuit, there was a unanimous decision by all 12 jurors to award the family $1,000,000 in pain and suffering damages and $4,000,000 in punitive damages—which serve to punish the nursing home for their negligence. The same nursing home was found negligent in August 2019 after being hit with a lawsuit. Tad Thomas tried that case as well, which resulted in a $2.2 million verdict.
At Thomas Law Offices, we understand the challenges of having a family member cared for in a nursing home. But, when negligent facilities don’t meet residents’ needs, the consequences can be catastrophic. If your family is in a situation like this, contact us today. We can look into your case and determine if there are grounds to take legal action.