Brightmoor sued over patient’s death

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 5, 2011

By Shavonne Potts
SALISBURY ó A Rowan County woman is suing the parent company of Brightmoor Nursing Center, claiming its employees were negligent in the death of her uncle, who passed away two days after being injured there.
Eula Mae McCleave is administrator of the estate of George Walter McCleave. Her wrongful death lawsuit names G.I.T. Inc., the company that owns Brightmoor, which is located at 610 W. Fisher St.
George McCleave was admitted to Brightmoor in May 2000, the lawsuit says. The 73-year-old died Feb. 11, 2009, at Rowan Regional Medical Center, two days after he was dropped to the floor in the shower by a certified nursing assistant, the suit claims.
The company denies in court filings that McCleave was dropped by an employee assisting him in the shower.
The results of a complaint investigation completed by the state in March 2009 say a Brightmoor resident was sent to the hospital with a hip fracture and later died. The document, which includes specific dates, refers to staff members by their titles, not their names.
Court filings say McCleave was taken to Rowan Regional with a right hip fracture and that hospital staff discovered he had a massive urinary tract infection not identified at the nursing home.
Several Brightmoor staff members involved or who had knowledge of the incident were fired or suspended, the state inspection report said.
McCleave, who suffered from mental retardation and was wheelchair bound, was assessed as being a fall risk when he was first admitted, and precautions were supposed to be put in place but were not, the suit said.
According to a June 2008 care plan, McCleaveís bed was to be kept at the lowest levels at all times, a shower chair was to be used for showers and a gait belt was to be used for moving him.
Two people were supposed to assist in transferring him from his wheelchair to the bed or shower.
The suit said the company failed to provide adequate staffing to meet McCleaveís needs, properly train and supervise staff, assess him for injuries and notify a physician of his condition, among other things.
ěDefendant failed to possess the degree of professional learning, skill and ability possessed by others with similar training and experience situated in the same or similar communities,î the lawsuit says.
The staff failed to notify a doctor or the charge nurse of changes in McCleaveís condition, the suit says.
The lawsuit said these were not ěisolated problems but instead was a complete pattern of failure that occurred until the deceased was transported to the emergency room and such reflects a systemic training failure by the Defendant G.I.T., Inc. management.î
It claims his death was ěproximately caused by the defendantís actions.î
The company denies all the claims in its response, including a failure to use two people to assist McCleave in showering and getting from one place to another.
ěBrightmoor Nursing Home regrets the death of any of its residents, particularly one who had been a resident of our facility for nearly nine years. The cause and any potential responsibility for this death is a matter in dispute and best left to our legal system to decide. As it always has, including at the time of this death nearly three years ago, Brightmoor Nursing Home continues to provide quality nursing care to its residents,î Lawrence Goldman, the attorney for G.I.T., Inc., Brightmoor Nursing Center said in a statement.
James Roane, of Greensboro is representing the estate of George McCleave.
The case is scheduled for mediation in a couple of weeks.
Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.