Missouri Lawyers’ Weekly reports on a nursing home case involving a respiratory therapist who allegedly caused the death of a 79-year-old resident at Scenic View Nursing in Herculeaneum, Missouri. The respiratory therapist had a suspended license and was charged with second-degree involuntary manslaughter in connection to the patient’s death. He entered an Alford plea and was sentenced to four years in jail.
Additionally, the therapist had been previously reprimanded four times for removing residents from oxygen without an order. His last reprimand was six months before the patient’s death. His supervisor said he was a danger to residents and was terminated. It gets better. He also pled guilty to the unlawful sale of OxyContin to an undercover officer. It gets even better. He told the police officer who arrested him, “I know what this is about. It’s about that old lady. I guess she thought she would live forever.” This came out in the nursing home negligence trial.
If you are a nursing home lawyer, you are thinking one thing: I can’t lose this case. Obviously, I don’t have all the facts. But apparently, despite all of this, the jury did not believe the doctor who said that he did not order the ventilator turned off, even though an eyewitness recalls the order. One more dose of incredible: the doctor was the owner of the nursing home. But for whatever reason, perhaps tactical reasons that one cannot gather from a media report of the story, the plaintiff’s nursing home lawyer did not bring a malpractice action against the doctor.