In September 2015, Dolores Moore was brought to the West Boca Medical Center in South Florida where she was found to be suffering from hyponatremia, which is a low sodium level in the blood. Hyponatremia is very common in the United States. There are more than three million cases annually and with treatment the condition can typically be resolved within a few days to a couple weeks. But during her stay, Moore, now 82 years-of-age, fell out of her hospital bed because of the alleged negligence of the staff at the medical center. Upon learning the details of Moore’s fall her daughter, Lauren Harrison, filed a malpractice lawsuit.
The fall left Moore with a broken hip, which required orthopedic surgery, and a 48-day stay at a nursing home. The lawsuit claimed that the fracture did not heal properly and has left Moore unable to get around without the assistance of a walking aid. Her attorneys argued that the staff at the medical center did not take the proper steps to ensure that Moore was secure in her hospital bed.
“Dolores Moore lived an absolutely independent life until a year-and-a-half ago,” said her lawyer. “She went into the hospital on September 16, 2015 with a short-term correctable problem, and she left the hospital disabled for life.”
Attorney’s representing the West Boca Medical Center argued that the late-night fall was not the fault of the nurses. They claimed that raising two of the four guardrails was standard procedure for a patient in Moore’s condition. But Moore’s attorneys disagreed, arguing that at a minimum three of the four guardrails should have been raised, which they believe would have prevented the fall and her fractured hip. The jurors who heard the case agreed.
At the end of March 2017, the Florida jury found the West Boca Medical Center negligent for the broken hip of Dolores Moore after deliberating for only a few hours. Moore’s lawyers sought $1.3 million in damages, but she was awarded $909,000, including $300,000 for pain and suffering.