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Evergreen Frontier Nursing Home Settles Negligence Suit Over Woman’s Death From Fall; Woman With Severe Head Injuries Left Undiagnosed for Two Days

Longview, WA - The family of a 76-year-old Longview woman, who died after suffering a head injury from a fall in a nursing home and being left undiagnosed for more than two days, will receive a nearly $1.9 million settlement. According to court documents, Gertrude "Trudy" Wart was admitted to the Evergreen Frontier nursing home in January 2004 for rehabilitation from a stroke, where she was making good progress in her recovery. On April 2, 2004, a nursing assistant student left Wart unattended -- contrary to Wart's care plan -- and she fell from her bed, striking her head on the floor, according to court papers. Although Wart showed symptoms of serious head injury including vomiting and increased blood pressure, she was left untreated for 48 hours until she was found comatose. She was transferred to St. John's hospital where she died two days later. On April 5, 2006, Judge Theresa Doyle of the King County Superior Court of Washington found Evergreen Frontier negligent in seven different areas. In addition, the court found that this misconduct constituted "neglect" under the Abuse of Vulnerable Adults Act -- a Washington law designed to protect nursing home patients. Judge Doyle ruled that the nursing home failed to ensure proper supervision, properly assess Wart's injuries and recognize her increased risk for hemorrhage, immediately transfer her to a hospital, and promptly notify her physician after she became lethargic, among other things. The incident also led the state to conclude that patients at Evergreen Frontier faced "immediate jeopardy" and ordered the facility to stop accepting new patients.

May 30, 2006

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