Pocono Tranquil Gardens, a nursing home in Eastern Pennsylvania, is currently in the midst of a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the family of Orlando DePascale, Sr. who died while under the care of the home in 2014. The lawsuit claims that a lack of bed rails, insufficient supervision, and a lack of prompt medical care were the causes of death.
The lawsuit, filed in June of 2016 by the executors of DePascale's estate, his son, and daughter, described the incident as follows. In 2014, their father was admitted to Pocono Tranquil gardens at the age of 88 for a short-term stay. He was suffering from dementia at the time and was placed in the 40-bed memory unit which was purportedly designed to handle patients with his particular disorder.
The family requested bed rails at the time of admittance, but the staff said they did not allow them, and DePascale was placed in a bed without them. Just a couple weeks after he entered the home, he reportedly attempted to use the bathroom on his own at around 11 pm, when he fell and struck his head on the floor. He then lay on the floor for an hour before the staff discovered him.
Instead of contacting emergency medical services or taking DePascale to a physician, the staff put him back in the bed for the remainder of the night and he was found unresponsive the next morning. He was then taken to the local medical center, but died the next day from a subdural hematoma, or bleeding in the brain.
After performing an investigation, the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare “found four violations relating to DePascale's death.” The cited violations included the fact that the residential home did not notify the department promptly of DePascale's death and that the home “failed to conduct a proper evaluation at the time he was admitted to the personal care facility.”
The suit alleges, moreover, that the staff at Pocono Tranquil Gardens told the family multiple times that they did not have appropriate staff to complete all the monitoring activities that were required. It goes on to claim that DePascale was hospitalized twice during the time he was living at the facility for elevated blood sugar levels prior to his death. DePascale was highly diabetic, yet was allegedly given ice cream and cookies which were not a part of his “specialized diet plan.”
Since the accident, the facility has changed ownership and has shown proof to the PA Department of Public Welfare that it has remedied its previous violations. The previous owners could not be contacted for comments on the pending litigation.
Tragically, preventable deaths in nursing homes occur far too often. Sometimes, however, it can be difficult to prove that the nursing home was liable for the death, especially if there are no witnesses or little documentation. If you have lost a loved one at a nursing home and have questions, contact trial attorneys Charles Gilman and Briggs Bedigian today at 800-529-6162 or contact them online.