Orlando, FL— Jurors heard conflicting narratives concerning the care a Florida woman received from a rehabilitation center, as trial opened Wednesday over the bone-deep pressure sore she claims was caused by the facility's negligence. Reed v. Life Care Centers of America, et al., 2018-CA-013297-O.
Carol Reed, who has spina bifida, a condition from birth that affects the spine, stayed at Life Care Center of Orlando’s rehabilitation facility for roughly one month in 2017 while recovering from a broken leg. A day after her release, she was hospitalized for an illness, and physicians diagnosed her with a severe pressure sore they ultimately found went down to the bone. The wound required a range of long-term treatment, and severely impacted her ability to perform activities of daily living, her attorney, Morgan & Morgan’s Keith Mitnik, told jurors Wednesday.
Mitnik said Reed’s mobility issues placed her at high risk of developing pressure sores, or damage to soft tissue from remaining in one position for too long. Mitnik walked through evidence he said showed Reed was unable to move herself adequately when she arrived at the facility. But he said medical records documented only spotty assistance in changing her position during her rehab stay.
And once the facility's staff first saw that a skin issue developed, Mitnik said, they did not properly refer her to an on-site wound specialist for appropriate care.
“They knew she had spina bifidia. They knew that it was going to make it difficult. They knew that she couldn’t turn like someone might otherwise [turn],” Mitnik said. “They knew all of this, and they said, come on in, we’ve got your back. And they did not.”
But Life Care Center of Orlando and its parent company, Life Care Centers of America, contend the facility’s care was appropriate under the circumstances. During Wednesday’s openings, Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer’s Robin Khanal previewed evidence he said showed the facility’s treatment was part of a broader, integrated approach to Reed’s care, which took into account Reed's physical and occupational therapy.
And he said that facility staff encouraged Reed to move herself as much as possible, assisting as needed, in an effort to support Reed's own goal of being able to transfer in and out of bed when she recovered.
“That’s what we’re trying to do. We want to get you back to be able to go back home,” Khanal said. “You want to go back home and do these transfers. We’re going to encourage you to do it.”
Trial in the case is expected to last through the end of the week.
Email Arlin Crisco at email@example.com.
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