The U.S. government on Friday was slapped with a medical malpractice and negligence lawsuit by the survivor of an elderly Vietnam War veteran who allegedly suffered serious injuries and died after falling twice at a government-run nursing home in the Bronx, New York, in 2014.
In a complaint filed in New York’s Southern District federal court, Claudia Thaxton claimed that the government, as owner and operator of James J. Peters Medical Center, acted negligently, violated New York’s public health law and committed malpractice by failing to help Aaron Thompson get out of bed during his stay at the residential nursing home, leading him to fall twice on the same day in April 2014 and die from his injuries a month later.
Thompson had been living at the medical center “for multiple reasons” related in part to his service in Vietnam, according to the complaint. As the owner, operator and supervisor of the facility in April 2014, the government had a duty to treat, supervise and care for Thompson, and would be directly liable for violations or infringements of that duty by anyone at the facility.
But the government “breached its duty of care towards Thompson by negligently failing to provide assistance to him when getting out of bed, and of failing to render appropriate medical treatment after he fell twice,” Thaxton’s complaint read.
The government likewise recklessly and negligently hired incompetent personnel and failed to properly train them, and the staff in turn allowed Thompson to be and remain unattended, failed to take appropriate preventative measures, failed to provide appropriate nursing care and failed to react promptly after Thompson fell, all of which caused him to suffer serious injuries and die on May 5, 2014, Thaxton wrote.
While that negligence violated New York’s health code, it also constituted medical malpractice, as the nursing home staff “departed from accepted standards of nursing and medical treatment and care to prevent the injuries sustained” by Thompson, the complaint contended.
“As a result of the foregoing, the United States of America caused Thompson to endure pain, suffering and death,” Thaxton wrote.
Though the complaint gave no indication of the amount of damages Thaxton sought on behalf of Thompson, “the amount of damages exceeds the jurisdictional limits of all lower courts that would otherwise have jurisdiction,” Thaxton wrote.
Representatives for the government or James J. Peters Medical Center could not immediately be reached for comment, and counsel information was not immediately available.
The case is Claudia Thaxton, on behalf of Aaron Thompson v. The United States of America, case number 1:17-cv-00661, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
–Editing by Orlando Lorenzo.
Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor fails to provide proper care to a patient, often resulting in serious injury or even death. If you or a loved one has been hurt by medical errors and/or medical malpractice, contact the experienced attorneys at The Lancione Law Firm or call us at 440-331-6100.
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The article is written by: Steven Trader, as seen on Law360.com