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Hip Fracture in Senior Veteran with Dementia Went Ignored at Personal Care Home

It was a brand-new personal care home, welcoming elderly patients for daily living. What should have been a safe place quickly turned into mistreatment when injuries from a fall went ignored for months. An 86-year-old Navy veteran moved into the home in September. At the time, he was fully mobile and able to care for himself. A few months later, the man fell and sustained a hip fracture. By November, he could no longer move and required assistance with daily tasks. The patient had dementia and couldn’t explain to the staff that he fell, but he frequently complained of pain. Despite his cries for help, the facility offered no follow-up medical care and did nothing to change how they handled the patient. They made him attend physical therapy sessions, moved him around forcefully, and at least once, as the family discovered on video, flung him onto his bed.

The facility did an on-site X-ray shortly after the fall and failed to detect the fracture. Instead, they merely mentioned that the veteran favored his left side. When a Blink camera installed in the room showed the veteran being tossed into bed inappropriately by staff, his daughter sought legal action for the mistreatment.

The patient’s daughter called personal injury attorney David Selingo of the firm Selingo Guagliardo. A former defense lawyer with decades of experience, David could see right away the daughter had a case against the facility. The attorney had the veteran’s X-ray examined by a radiologist, who identified a break in the femoral neck of his left leg. The personal care home either failed to discover — or never disclosed — the most painful of fractures that the elderly patient sustained under their care. David investigated further and found that the Plaintiff was moved about as usual, often very firmly, by the personal care home staff for more than six weeks after his fall. They did nothing when he complained of pain. And they handled him forcefully at times.

The Defense claimed that the Navy vet injured his hip when the home transferred him to a hospital for treatment in December, 40 days after he fell. They also denied any wrongdoing. David brought in experts to show otherwise. He assembled a team including a nursing care specialist, an orthopedist, and a radiologist. David felt animations were especially useful in accident reconstruction and personal injury situations where the case hinged on medical information. The attorney knew that showing potential jurors the mistreatment of this veteran would be very upsetting. So, he contacted DK Global for a demonstrative.

DK Global created a six-minute animation that laid bare the causes of the veteran’s mistreatment. It began with a rendering of the patient moving about the facility independently with no trouble. The video then mentioned the fall in November and displayed the X-ray taken at the time, noting that staff had not reported a break. The presentation switched to a 3D animation of the patient, showing what was happening inside his hip beneath the skin. Then, captions explained that the vet needed maximum assistance to move, which wasn’t the case before the fall. The visual proceeded to demonstrate how his handling at the facility aggravated his injury, resulting in a dislocation of the femoral fracture. The presentation also included the Blink camera footage of the man being flung onto the bed by staff. More captions noted that the Plaintiff received no follow-up treatment despite complaining of pain.

Prior to seeing the animation, the Defense stood firm and made no offer. However, when they reviewed the demonstrative, the opposition finally proposed a modest settlement. David and his client wanted to hold the assisted living facility accountable and rejected the offer, paving the way for a jury to decide the matter. Finally, after two days of trial, the Defense offered to settle confidentially for a fair and favorable sum for David’s client.

David Selingo has more than three decades of experience in personal injury law. The Managing Member of Selingo Guagliardo, a firm based in Kingston, Pennsylvania, that practices throughout New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. David is a member of the Wilkes-Barre Law and Library Association, the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, and the Northeastern Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association. He’s a Certified Civil Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, a Pennsylvania Supreme Court Accredited Agency. David has received the Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Peer Review Rating for professional excellence. In addition, he has been a Philadelphia Magazine Pennsylvania Super Lawyer since 2007. In 2008, David was elected a Senior Fellow in Litigation Counsel of America, a trial lawyer honor society limited to 3,500 lawyers nationwide.

"Everybody says a picture is worth a thousand words. A video is worth a million, then."
David Selingo - Selingo Guagliardo, LLC
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