Aperion

A local nursing home was hit with another wrongful death suit recently, its third in as many years.

The family of Sicely Daulton filed a wrongful death suit against Aperion Care Kokomo in January, alleging negligence on behalf of the facility. In the suit, it’s claimed that Daulton, missing a leg from an amputation, was left unattended standing in a shower, resulting in a fall that broke the elderly woman’s leg.

And it’s claimed in the suit that Aperion attempted to conceal the error that resulted in the woman breaking her leg.

According to the complaint, Daulton’s fall occurred on March 1, 2017. After being left standing alone in the shower, Daulton fell and was found with “her left leg bent at the knee pressed up against the wall and the calf of the left leg resting on the thigh of her right upper leg.” An Aperion staff member called 911 following the incident and admitted to the operator that it was an unwitnessed fall.

“’It was unwitnessed,” reads a transcript of the 911 recording referenced in the suit. “She was in the shower room. She is alert and oriented, but we do not know if she hit her head.”

But, according to the suit, the nursing home staff “in a blatant attempt to conceal the truth and cover up their neglect, the nursing staff later falsely documented the nursing record to suggest that Ms. Daulton’s fall was in act witnessed and that the fall was caused by Ms. Daulton letting go of a wheelchair.”

Jeff Powless, the attorney representing Daulton’s family, said the alleged coverup was found after he obtained a recording of the 911 call made after Daulton’s fall.

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“What’s particularly concerning about this case, and we see this far too often, is that the medical records, upon close examination and when we look into the facts of the case and do additional investigation, often do not reflect the reality of what happened,” said Powless. “I think it’s unfortunate that far too many nursing homes spend their time trying to cover up what happened rather than correct it. Here in this case, but for the fact that we obtained the 911 recording, critical information about what happened in this case wouldn’t have ever come to light if we’d simply relied upon the medical records as documented by the facility staff.”

It’s also alleged in the suit that Daulton’s fall in the shower wasn’t her first. According to the suit, during her residency at the nursing home, Daulton experienced at least 16 falls between Jan. 1, 2015, and March 3, 2017.

The primary claim of the suit is that the “nursing home staff knew Ms. Daulton was at high risk for falls, yet they failed to provide adequate supervision and assistance devices to prevent accidents such as falls.”

According to the suit, Daulton’s left femur was “severely fractured” after she fell in the shower. After finding her in the shower, one of Aperion’s nurses “made the inexplicable decision to move Ms. Daulton back to her room and place her into her bed before calling an ambulance. Without stabilizing the fracture, three staff members lifted Ms. Daulton back into the shower chair, took her to her room, and lifted her into bed.”

Daulton, according to the complaint, suffered in a debilitated state through the next several months until her death in June 2017.

Powless also represented another family after a patient fell in and later died in 2015. That suit, filed in 2016, was resolved between the parties. Another wrongful death suit, filed in early 2017, was granted a default judgment, which later was set aside for settlement negotiations between the parties.

Multiple requests for comment made to Aperion Care Kokomo were not returned by deadline.