A Franklin County Ohio Jury ruled last week that nursing home neglect was the sole cause for the 2005 death of a lawyer who was debilitated following a stroke in 1984. The jury awarded the man’s widow $6.5 million in her wrongful death lawsuit.

After his 1984 stroke, Peter Southard was disabled and forgetful. He was constantly thirsty, and could not merely be told to drink–he had to be watched to ensure that he drank enough water. His wife cared for him since his stroke, but on occasion she would admit him to a nursing home for a respite. In May 2005, she took him to a nursing home while she took a two-week vacation. But when she returned she found him in a clothes-strewn room with urine-soaked bedding. He was incontinent and had a bloody rash on his groin. Two days later, he died of dehydration and kidney failure.

The nursing home argued that Southard’s death was due to diarrhea after he left the nursing home. They also filed a countersuit against his doctor, claiming medical malpractice, negligence, and inadequate instruction that contributed to Southard’s death.

In the trial, doctors testified that care at the nursing home was below minimum standards, and aides at the nursing home said they were never told of Southard’s need for water and close supervision.

Nursing home negligence similar to this case is unfortunately common. If you have lost a loved one in this type of tragedy, we can help. Please schedule a free nursing home neglect consultation with Columbus, Ohio wrongful death lawyer Robert W. Kerpsack of Robert W. Kerpsack CO., L.P.A.