Ontario man died in agony after nursing home neglected bed sore, lawsuit alleges
Sonja Puzic, CTVNews.ca
Published Thursday, October 20, 2016 3:53PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, October 20, 2016 10:32PM EDT
A 68-year-old man spent his last days in agony after a Toronto nursing home neglected to treat a massive, oozing bed sore on his behind, a planned class-action lawsuit alleges.
The lawsuit against Revera Nursing Homes, one of the biggest long-term care companies in Canada, alleges that Arthur Ross Jones did not receive proper care and was often neglected by nursing home staff.
Jones was a resident at Main Street Terrace in Toronto, which is run by Revera Inc. He was admitted to the nursing home after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and dementia.
Jones was “completely reliant” on the staff and doctors at the nursing home, but his family alleges that he was not carefully monitored and had fallen on a number of occasions.
After falling twice in May of 2014, Jones was bed-ridden for days, “but no one reassessed his care needs despite his significant medical and physical status change,” his family alleges.
They also allege that, even though Jones was complaining of pain in his groin and hip, he received no pain assessments and was “left to suffer with no medication.”
The family says that Jones began suffering from bed sores and was found verbally unresponsive on the morning of May 26, 2014. He was taken to a hospital where, days later, his daughter Lori DeKervor discovered a “large, deep, smelly, oozing sacral ulcer” at the base of his spine.
DeKervor said the doctor told her that Jones had arrived at the hospital with the sore, which turned into a massive, infected ulcer.
Jones died in hospital on June 8, 2014.
“This is like a 13th century, agonizing, torturous (death),” a tearful DeKervor told a news conference at the Ontario legislature on Thursday.
“This is not something that would happen here. This is a place that could do better and should do better,” she said.
None of the allegations in the case have been tested in court.
DeKervor’s lawyer, Amani Oakley, said suing a nursing home is too costly for many families and any awarded damages would be unlikely to cover those costs. She said that’s why a class-action lawsuit would be filed, in hopes that a number of plaintiffs will come forward and make litigation more feasible.
The planned class-action lawsuit has not been certified yet. But Oakley told reporters Thursday that the phone in her office has been ringing “off the hook” with other stories of neglect in Revera-run homes.
Oakley said there have been numerous media reports over the years about alleged neglect and other problems at Revera nursing homes across the country.
Graham Webb, a litigation lawyer with the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly, said that if the case is heard, and the lawsuit succeeds, “it would be a very important precedent.”
“If it succeeds it would allow litigants to avoid the excessive costs in comparison to the usually low damages that arise from cases of this type,” he said.
In a statement to CTV News, Revera Nursing Homes’ vice-president of Ontario operations, John Beaney, said the company would not discuss the specifics of the proposed lawsuit.
“We do not believe, however, that this case has merit and intend to participate in the court process,” Beaney said.
John Beaney’s full statement:
“The care and safety of our residents is our top priority. As this matter is before the courts, and with respect for the system and for all parties involved, we cannot speak to the specifics of the lawsuit. We do not believe, however, that this case has merit and intend to participate in the court process.
Long term care providers deliver care to individuals who are often near the end of their lives and face many complex and rapidly evolving conditions. We empathize with all family members when they lose a loved one.
We have been operating for more than 55 years in Canada, during which time we have cared for hundreds of thousands of people. Our homes regularly meet or exceed government standards and our commitment to innovation in senior’s care has enhanced the services we provide. Our employees care deeply about the individuals they serve, and strive to provide comfort, care and compassion every day. “