Ms. P., in her mid-80s, had suffered the loss of her eyesight and one leg, but she still traveled the corridors of the nursing facility and enjoyed visits from her several children, who regularly came to see her.
The facility previously had failed to secure a door, allowing a resident to wander outside and suffer such exposure that ultimately caused the resident’s death. Blind and confined to a wheelchair, Ms. P. somehow managed to make her way through the same door, which had again been left unsecured.
Outside was a descending concrete ramp. Her wheelchair toppled almost immediately, slamming her head into the concrete. No one knows how long she lay on the ground outside.
When she eventually was discovered, she had suffered a lemon-sized hematoma on her forehead. She lay amid dried blood and vomit.
She was transported to the emergency room and subsequently admitted, where she lay in a hospital bed for two weeks until, surrounded by distraught family members, she died.
Through litigation it was discovered a meal card had been falsified, documenting that Ms. P. had had been served a meal in the nursing home after her fall, while she was confined to a bed in the local hospital. Employees admitted they had been understaffed and under-supplied. Tellingly, employees also revealed that the administration had a code, “The potluck has been canceled,” to announce over the intercom to alert its employees when state inspectors were in the building so that employees could conform their usual performance to state standards during the inspectors’ visit.
If Issue 1 becomes law, $500,000 is the most the facility might have to pay for its negligence that cost Ms. P. her life.