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MODESETT WILLIAMS PLLC

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AUSTIN, TX 78701

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Bastrop County, Texas, July 17, 2015

Modesett Williams - Monday, October 12, 2015

After a five day jury trial, Jack Modesett obtained a $240,000 verdict against Regency Nursing Center Partners of Bastrop, Ltd d/b/a Bastrop Lost Pines Nursing and Rehabilitation Center based in Victoria, Texas. Mr. Modesett was assisted by his partner, Walter Williams.


The jury found Bastrop Lost Pines to be negligent in its care of Margaret Haywood, who was a resident from late August through mid-December of 2013 after suffering a stroke in her home.


The evidence included the testimony of four former and one current employee that Bastrop Lost Pines could not provide adequate care and follow doctor’s orders to turn and reposition Ms. Haywood every 2 hours because of chronic understaffing. Bastrop Lost Pines’ failure resulted in Ms. Haywood developing a Stage 4 bed sore on her coccyx.


Bastrop Lost Pines attempted to rebut this evidence with unsigned time cards, which the jury found not to be credible, particularly given Bastrop Lost Pines’ written misrepresentations to the federal government concerning the very same bed sore and the treating physician’s testimony that substandard care caused Ms. Haywood’s bed sore.


Lying in her own waste, not being turned or changed for hours at a time, day after day, caused Ms. Haywood’s Stage 4 bed sore to become infected, infected her bones and played a substantial role in her premature death.


The jury found for the Estate of Margaret Haywood and her surviving children, Jerry Haywood, Lillie Piper, Geneva McMarion, Hulisher Haywood, James Haywood and Dorothy Haywood- Dockery.


Modesett Williams, PLLC is a firm of board certified trial lawyers, based in Austin, Texas. Jack Modesett is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Walter Williams is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law by the Texas board of Legal Specialization. They have tried cases in dozens of Texas counties and throughout the United States.


Modesett Williams represents a broad range of litigation clients throughout Texas and the United States. For additional information, please call Jack Modesett at 512.472.6097. 

Death of Austin Nursing Home Resident Spurs Investigation, KVUE Discovers Widespread Neglect

Patricia Small - Friday, July 25, 2014

In 2010, Kathy Lee placed her mother in Austin Retirement and Nursing Center, KVUE reports. A few months ago, she received a call from an ICU nurse. Her mom was in the hospital. Within hours, 86-year-old Sadie Brasch was dead. 


According to the KVUE article, the Department of Aging and Disability Services launched an investigation after receiving a complaint lodged after Brasch's death. In February, DADS released a report that found Austin Retirement and Nursing Center put as many as 86 residents with dementia at risk. In addition, the nursing home has been cited more than 100 times over the past few years for multiple reasons. 


KVUE reports that the nursing home did not consult a physician despite a worsening in Brasch's condition, and did not even know Brasch had died until Lee told them. The DADS report determined that many more patients were also put at risk of illness and death due to delays in notifying a physician. According to KVUE, Ben Marks, the administrator for Austin Retirement and Nursing Home, the center does not agree with the state's findings and is appealing the claim that their facility is out of compliance.


Although the nursing home has been fined $16,500 since 2008, only about half of that has been paid, KVUE reports. In fact, KVUE discovered that Texas nursing homes rarely pay initial state fines because state law allows DADS to reduce fines if nursing facilities pay early and promise to correct violations. 


This is a loophole that state Senator Charles Schwertner of Georgetown hopes to correct. 


"That needs to be closed, and those penalties need to be serious penalties and not just seen as the cost of doing business," Schwertner tells KVUE. 


For more information, see the full KVUE report

Nursing Homes Abuse Antipsychotics to Control Patients

Patricia Small - Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A recent article by AARP sheds light on a widespread problem in nursing homes that is putting elderly patients at risk. According to the article, thousands of nursing homes across the country are using unnecessary antipsychotic drugs as chemical restraints to control residents. 


The article quotes Toby Edelman, an attorney at the Center for Medicare Advocacy in Washington, D.C., who points to inadequate training, understaffing, and aggressive marketing tactics by big pharmaceutical companies as the driving force behind this long-standing practice. These large companies target nursing homes as the main distributor of their drugs because these facilities are often highly medicalized but typically have very few doctors on site. Less than a year ago, Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries were forced to shell out over $2.2 billion for criminal and civil charges after marketing non-FDA approved drugs to nursing homes, the article reports. 


"When nursing facilities divert funds from the care of residents to corporate overhead and profits, the human toll is enormous," Edelman said.


And indeed, the bottom line is often the most important factor when considering the quality of care received by patients in nursing homes. Nursing homes can cut costs by keeping less full-time staff members, or employing CNAs over full-time physicians. The CNAs working in nursing homes are often underpaid and overworked, a problem that is compounded by residents who require a high level of care, the article reports.


Although by law, nursing homes require informed consent by a patient, or family member if consent by the resident is not possible, before receiving drugs like antipsychotics, many nursing homes administer these medications without authorization, pointing to "bad behavior" as justification for doling out antipsychotics to patients. According to the article, these drugs are not meant for elderly patients or those with Alzheimer's or dementia, but rather for patients with extreme schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. 


"They can dull a patient's memory, sap their personalities and crush their spirits," states a report from the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform. 


Not only can these drugs make patients agitated, anxious, confused and disoriented, they can also double the risk of death in the elderly, the article reports. Despite knowing the risks associated with antipsychotics, pharmaceutical companies continue to market their products to nursing homes, claiming these drugs work as an effective way to control difficult patients. 


The article details a specific case of overmedication in a nursing home resident, reporting that Patricia Thomas, a 79-year-old nursing home resident, went into a nursing home with a broken pelvis, and died within weeks of being discharged after an 18-day stay. 


According to the article, Thomas's daughter, Kathi Levine, 57, said she "wasn't my mother anymore. She was withdrawn, slumped in a wheelchair with her head down, chewing on her hand, her speech garbled."


The article reports that her short stint in the nursing home exposed her to so many heavy-duty medications, including illegally administered antipsychotics, that she was no longer able to function. For each drug she was given, she was given another drug to counter the side-effects of the first. 


"My mother went into Ventura for physical therapy. Instead, she was drugged up to make her submissive. I believe that my mother died because profit and greed were more important than people," Levine said.


Levine took her case to a Ventura County Superior Court judge, and attorneys from Johnson Moore joined by lawyers from AARP Foundation settled a class-action lawsuit against the nursing home for illegally administering dangerous drugs, the article reports. 


Attorney Kelly Bagby, senior counsel fro AARP Foundation litigation, said, "It is the first case of its kind in the country, and hopefully we can replicate this nationwide."


For more information, see the full article by AARP

The Good Guys are out There

Patricia Small - Friday, June 13, 2014

Texas Elder Abuse and Mistreatment Institute Works to Mitigate the Growing Tide of Elder Abuse


In Harris County, a coalition of clinicians, APS (Adult Protective Services) workers, prosecutors, attorneys, community groups, researchers, academics, business entities, social service agencies and others have formed a clinical and research arm to help stop elder abuse in Texas. The group was formed to educate health professionals, community service workers and the public about the growing problem of elder abuse. 


TEAM takes clients referred by APS who have suffered substantial abuse or neglect, may have complicated medical issues and often have a questionable capacity, and provides a comprehensive geriatric assessment. After this medical assessment, a plan of care is determined by an interdisciplinary team made up of the APS case worker, a social worker, and the TEAM Institute medical team. 


TEAM is also the umbrella organization for H-FAST and EFFORT, which also have a role in protecting the elderly and providing justice for abuse and neglect cases that result in tragedies. H-FAST, the Houston Financial Abuse Specialist Team, works specifically to fight against financial exploitation of the elderly, which is the third most common form of abuse against our elderly. EFFORT, or the Harris County Elder Abuse Fatality Review Team, reviews specific cases of unexpected adult deaths and reports its findings and recommendations to the Harris County Commissioner's Office every two years. 


For more information on TEAM and how you can get involved, visit these sites:


https://med.uth.edu/im/divisions/geriatric-palliative-medicine/research/basic/

http://www.apshealthcare.com/

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/special-reports/article/As-Houston-region-gets-older-abuse-of-elderly-4872716.php#/0

http://www.houstonmatters.org/show/2014/04/18/preventing-elder-abuse-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly-record-store-day-houston-matters-for-friday-april-18-2014





It's Not a Myth

Patricia Small - Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Elder Abuse is Happening in Our Own Backyard


Recent statistics by the National Center on Elder Abuse state that 9.5% of the elderly population suffered some form of abuse in 2010. That is roughly one out of of every ten people over 60 years of age. Despite how shocking those numbers may be, it is difficult to see them as anything other than numbers. Connecting real names and faces to the individuals who experience abuse and neglect can be challenging. We write them off, dismiss these incidents as anomalies or freak accidents.


Unfortunately, these cases hit closer to home than we may want to believe. A recent article by the Houston Chronicle reported the death of two residents in a northwest Houston nursing home after both were beaten to death by another resident with a wheelchair armrest.


According to the article, Antonio Acosta, one of the victims, warned his family about the dangers of his new roommate, even begging them to find somewhere else for him to go. The roommate, 56-year-old Guillermo Correa, was charged with capital murder for the death of Acosta and another roommate, Primitivo Lopez, the article reports. 


This tragic murder sheds some light on a problem that is often not thought about when we talk about abuse in nursing homes. Often we assume that nursing home abuse refers to blatant abuse between a staff member and a resident. However, as was the case in Houston, abuse can also occur between residents. The Houston facility, Lexington Place, refused to comment, the article states. 


These incidents are often yet another result of understaffed nursing homes. More supervision, more time for resident concerns and more careful monitoring of arguments between residents can go a long way in preventing these tragedies. 



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