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Wrongful death suit filed against Medco

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By Calen McKinney

For the third time in a year, a local nursing home has been accused of causing the death of a resident.

Lexington attorney Corey T. Fannin filed a complaint on behalf of Cindy Craig, who serves as executrix of the estate of Bernadine Drake, on Sept. 6 in Taylor Circuit Court.

Listed as defendants are Exendicare Homes Inc. dba Medco Center of Campbellsville, now known as Campbellsville Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Nelda Beard, in capacity as administrator at the nursing home, Thomas D. Scott, who owns 99 percent of the nursing home, several Extendicare subsidiaries and five John Does.

According to the complaint, Craig was appointed executrix of Drake's estate after her death last Nov. 2 at 71.

The complaint states that Drake, of Columbia, stayed at the nursing home from Jan. 23, 2012, to Feb. 24, 2012, and then from Feb. 28, 2012, to Oct. 29, 2012. It states that Drake was of unsound mind.

When living at the nursing home, Drake relied on the defendants for her total needs, the complaint states.

And while living there, the complaint alleges, the nursing home staff members failed to meet their obligation to care for Drake. The plaintiff also alleges that the defendants knew about the injuries Drake suffered and that the facility couldn't provide the minimum standard of care to the "weak and vulnerable" residents at the nursing home, which included Drake.

Because of the defendants' wrongful conduct, the complaint alleges, Drake suffered an accelerate deterioration of her health, including multiple falls with injuries, fractures, urinary tract infections, skin tears, poor hygiene and, ultimately, her death.

Drake also suffered medical expenses, extreme pain and suffering, mental anguish, disability, disfigurement, degradation, unnecessary loss of personal dignity and the loss of her life, which, the complaint alleges, were all caused by the defendants' actions.

The complaint alleges the nursing home failed to develop and follow policies to help Drake maintain her well being, to maintain adequate records, to have enough staff members to care for residents and to see that Drake received proper care.

Craig alleges Drake wasn't given proper hygienic care, wasn't repositioned to prevent skin problems, wasn't given proper meals and help with eating and wasn't protected from abuse and neglect.

The complaint states that Beard, as administrator, is responsible for the nursing home and should see that it meets state and federal requirements. Craig's lawsuit claims Beard didn't do that and, as such, should be held liable in Drake's death.

The complaint states that Extendicare is the "licensee" of the nursing home, and, as such, is legally responsible for the facility and its compliance with all laws and regulations.

Craig is seeking punitive and compensatory damages for Drake's suffering, along with court costs, attorney's fees and a trial by jury.

Notices of the filing of Craig's lawsuit have been sent to all of the defendants in the case, though not all have been returned to the Taylor County Circuit Court Clerk's office at press time. As such, no formal answer has been filed to Craig's complaint.

Holly Haseley, executive director of communications for Extendicare Health Systems Inc., said on Tuesday that the company hasn't been served with Craig's complaint. As a result, she said, she can't comment on the allegations.

"In addition, federal privacy laws prohibit us from releasing information regarding the medical condition of an individual or the services provided to that individual," she stated in an emailed response.

A message to Beard at Campbellsville Nursing and Rehabilitation Center hadn't been returned at press time. An operator at the nursing home said Beard is on vacation this week.

When asked if anyone else was available for News-Journal staff members to talk to, the operator said there wasn't.

Fannin didn't return a phone call before press time to comment for this story.

Other Lawsuits

Craig's lawsuit is the third wrongful death complaint filed against Campbellsville Nursing and Rehabilitation Center since last September.

Lexington attorneys Ross F. Mann and Brian M. Jasper filed a complaint on behalf of Kenneth Pope of Campbellsville and the late Fay T. Pope in Taylor Circuit Court on Sept. 6, 2012.

According to the complaint, Pope, who died last Dec. 26 at 76, was a resident at Medco from Oct. 26, 2011, to Nov. 7, 2011.

While she was at the center, the complaint alleges, Pope suffered "accelerated deterioration of her health and physical condition beyond that caused by the normal aging process."

The complaint states that Pope suffered a subdural hematoma, laceration, spine fracture, left lamina papyracea fracture, left orbital floor fracture and poor hygiene while at the nursing home.

The nursing home denied the allegations in an answer filed by Lexington attorneys Tiffany Lauderdale Phillips and Michael Brandon Faulkner last Oct. 12.

According to the answer, someone other than the defendants is responsible for the Popes' damages, if there were any.

The answer states that the injuries Pope allegedly suffered were brought on by her pre-existing poor health, medical complications and/or her advanced age.

The nursing home hasn't violated any standards of care, the answer states, and as such aren't responsible for any damages.

As such, the defendants have asked that the complaint be dismissed and they be granted court costs, attorney's fees and a jury trial.

According to court records, J. Peter Cassidy of Lexington has since replaced Phillips and Faulkner as the defendants' attorney.

The Popes' case is scheduled to be heard next in Taylor Circuit Court on Monday, Sept. 30. A pretrial conference is scheduled for May 19, followed by a jury trial on June 23.

In the second lawsuit against the nursing home, Lexington attorney Lisa E. Circeo filed a complaint on behalf of Dorothy Lowe and Lisa Anderson, as co-executrixes of Margaret S. Gumm's estate, in Taylor Circuit Court on Jan. 31.

According to the complaint, Gumm, of Columbia, who died Aug. 28 at 81, was a resident at Medco from Jan. 12, 2012, to May 8, 2012.

The plaintiffs allege Gumm suffered an accelerated deterioration of her health, which was beyond the normal aging process, while being cared for at the nursing home. The complaint states that she suffered poor hygiene, weight loss, hyperglycemic episodes, pressure sore infections and urinary tract infections.

The plaintiffs claim Gumm suffered medical expenses, extreme pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of personal dignity and, ultimately, loss of life.

According to the complaint, the nursing home failed to provide adequate personnel to care for Gumm and protect her from being neglected.

On March 14, Lexington attorneys M. Brandon Faulkner and Anthony B. Gray filed a motion asking that alternative dispute resolution be ordered in Gumm's case and that the lawsuit be dismissed or stayed.

As of Wednesday morning, no court dates were set in Lowe's case.

• A lawsuit presents only one side of a case.