Jury Finds Pennsylvania Nursing Home Liable; Awards Family $1 Million

In April 2014, while under the care of Whitestone Care Center, Edward Arnold allegedly broke several bones in his body and came down with pneumonia. Arnold, 70-years-old at the time, was at the Whitestone nursing home, located in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, for only twenty days. According to a medical malpractice lawsuit, filed on behalf of his wife, Shirley Arnold, the negligence of the owners and operators of Whitestone, as well as two nursing home staff members, significantly impacted Edward Arnold’s quality of life, in what were his last years.

Arnold entered Whitestone, owned by Saber Healthcare Group, to rehabilitate an amputation on his leg. After a few days, Arnold and his wife began to notice what they felt was a lack of attention and care from the staff. Not only did Arnold feel like his rehab was being neglected, he also felt like his basic needs were not being adequately attended to. The lawyers representing Arnold’s family argued that the facility valued money over their patients and knowingly understaffed Whitestone, which for Arnold, led to pneumonia and several falls causing him to suffer a fractured hip and skull.

“This facility had poor performance on Department of Health surveys for years leading up to Mr. Arnold’s residency,” said one of Arnold’s attorneys. “The jury heard testimony that the facility was chronically understaffed and that management was aware but disregarded the complaints of the staff.”

After hearing arguments in court, a Pennsylvania jury ruled in favor of the plaintiff. They awarded Arnold’s family $1,000,000 after agreeing that the defendants were negligent for medical malpractice. $750,000 of the damages were punitive and the remaining $250,000 were for non-economic damages. As stipulated by the verdict, the award will be paid by Whitestone Healthcare Group, LLC, Saber Healthcare Group, LLC, and Saber Healthcare Holdings, LLC.

“This community deserves better,” said one of the lawyers representing the plaintiff. “This type of award shows nursing home operators that you cannot fail to take care of the most vulnerable citizens of Monroe County and expect zero consequences.”

It is not yet clear whether the defendants will appeal the ruling.

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