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Jury Awards $800,000 In Patient-Neglect Suit

Nov 28, 2003 | AP A jury has awarded $800,000 in compensatory damages to a former patient of a Gulf Coast personal care home who accused the home of neglect and abuse.

Punitive damages of $100,000 were negotiated in a settlement in the case of 93-year-old Ruth Lee Parker.

Gautier Personal Care Home Inc., which was owned by Dr. William Bridges and Polly Bridges, closed last month, according to Gautier city records. Only Polly Bridges and the home were listed in the jury findings.

Earl Parker of Pascagoula, who filed the case on behalf of his mother, said Wednesday that he hoped the money would allow Ruth Parker to live out the rest of her life in comfort.

"Maybe it will serve as a warning to people who tend to the elderly that they have to do it competently and safely," Earl Parker said. "Elderly people are vulnerable. They are like little children. They can't protect themselves or, if senile, tell anyone what happened."

Ruth Parker's family placed her in the personal care home in 1999. They moved her to an Ocean Springs nursing home in October 2001, about three months after she was first hospitalized with a cut to the head.

According to court testimony, she was hospitalized three times with cuts on her head. Doctors also found numerous minor bruises and abrasions to the rest of her body, according to court documents.

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