In April 2013, a 68-year-old former judge for Jefferson County, Kentucky, died after 24 days in a nursing home when he failed to receive necessary antibiotics. The judge had been treated at a hospital for an infection, received antibiotics and then moved to the nursing home two weeks later. He was supposed to take the antibiotics for a period of four weeks at that nursing home, at which time he would have been fit enough to leave.

As a result of this negligence, the infection returned and killed him. Representatives of the judge’s estate filed a lawsuit against the nursing home, Masonic Homes of Kentucky, and against the pharmacy, Med Care Pharmacy. It appears that Med Care Pharmacy failed to take steps ensuring that the decedent received his antibiotics. The facility was also negligent in failing to notify family members of the death. Six weeks passed before the wife was notified.

The lawsuit, which was filed in March 2014, led to Masonic Homes and Med Care Pharmacy agreeing to a settlement in June 2019. The nursing home paid $11 million to the judge’s wife and two sons, and the pharmacy paid $1.9 million in damages. The Masonic Homes location in Louisville, where the incident took place, has a five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Injuries and deaths in nursing homes can form the basis for a case under medical malpractice law, but for a case to be valid, several requirements must be met. Plaintiffs must prove malpractice, which means failure to live up to a generally accepted standard of medical care. Then, they must prove that the malpractice caused the injury or death. As the above story shows, pursing a malpractice claim can be a long, drawn-out process, so plaintiffs may want legal advice and guidance.