A Bessemer jury on Thursday, March 15, 2012, awarded the family of one hundred year old Elvia Henderson $2 million dollars for her wrongful death. The verdict followed a two week trial against SSC Birmingham Operating Company doing business as Fairview Nursing Home.
Henderson, a resident of Fairview, was dropped while being assisted to the bathroom. Henderson’s family contended that the fall resulted in a broken bone in her leg, which eventually became infected with pressure wounds, leading to the amputation of her leg and her ultimate death. The jury awarded $750,000 for Mrs. Henderson’s injuries and $1,250,000 as punitive damages for her death.
“Elvia Henderson didn’t deserve the treatment she received at Fairview. This is a case where the jury got it right. By its verdict, the jury is trying to tell the nursing home community to straighten up your operations,” stated the Henderson’s family attorney, Christopher Keith of Wettermark & Keith.
During the trial, evidence was offered indicating that Fairview did not follow its own policies and procedures for lifting Mrs. Henderson. The nursing homes own procedures required two people to assist Mrs. Henderson. She was dropped when a single employee tried to move her. Indeed, the evidence indicated that Mrs. Henderson had been dropped on multiple occasions, all in violation of the nursing homes two person assist requirement.
During preparation for the trial, Mrs. Henderson’s attorneys discovered that key documents were missing from the nursing homes records.
The jury deliberated two hours before reaching their verdict.