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Shocking Nursing Home Death Leads to $14 Million Verdict

Nursing Home Negligence

In what has been called the largest jury verdict concerning a case of nursing home neglect in Massachusetts during the last decade, the defendants in a wrongful death lawsuit have been ordered to pay $14 million to the family of Genevieve Calandro.

Calandro was a 90-year-old resident of Radius Healthcare Center in Danvers, Massachusetts. After she fell ill in June of 2008 and subsequently lost her life, her family filed a nursing home negligence lawsuit against Radius Healthcare Center, claiming a significant breach in the standard of care.

Experts have noted that it isn’t typical of Massachusetts juries to award a significant amount in punitive damages to plaintiffs who file complaints that allege nursing home neglect. As part of his instructions to the jury, Middlesex Superior Court Judge Peter B. Krupp noted that Radius, along with four related companies, had gone out of business following the death of Calandro. Radius had been involved with a chain of nursing homes throughout Massachusetts.

The Judge informed the jury of the purpose of punitive damages, which can be used not only to punish a company for negligence, but also to send a message to similar companies that misconduct would not be tolerated. The jury responded by awarding an incredible $12.5 million in punitive damages, along with $1.4 million in compensatory damages.

Doctors diagnosed Calandro with severe health problems

The family filed the nursing home negligence lawsuit after Calandro fell out of her wheelchair while a resident at Radius. She was taken to the hospital, where it was discovered that she was suffering from numerous health problems. The 90-year-old woman was diagnosed with acute appendicitis, uncontrolled diabetes, and severe dehydration. It was determined that she had kidney failure, which occurs when the kidneys are no longer capable of filtering waste products from the blood. If not caught and treated in time, acute kidney failure can quickly cause permanent damage to the kidneys, the loss of kidney function, and death.

Calandro was also found to have an untreated urinary tract infection, which had become so severe that the infection had entered her bloodstream. When an infection invades the bloodstream, the condition is known as sepsis. Sepsis can quickly cause organ failure, appendicitis, and other life-threatening complications.

On top of these life-threatening problems, Calandro was also found to have suffered from a severe pressure sore on her back. Pressure sores among nursing home residents typically occur when the staff fails to ensure that residents change position in bed or in a wheelchair at regular intervals.

After her diagnosis, Calandro received medical care at the hospital. However, the infections persisted and she lost her life during August of 2008.

Family’s concerns repeatedly ignored

After the favorable outcome of their nursing home negligence lawsuit, the family of Calandro spoke to the media. Garry Calandro, the decedent’s youngest son, noted that the family had repeatedly inquired as to her medical condition. They suspected that their mother was ill, yet they were informed that there was nothing to be concerned about.

“They were telling us that there was a virus going through the nursing home, that’s why she had a fever, and that everything was under control, that they were on top of everything,” said Garry Calandro.

The son went on to note that the substantial jury award could never make up for the loss of his beloved mother, nor could it compensate his family for the pain Calandro endured. However, Garry Calandro did express his wish that the jury award would send a clear message to the nursing home industry in the hopes that future tragedies might be avoided.