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Nursing Home Sued After Woman's Legs Amputated

Nov 23, 2004 | AP An Omaha nursing home is being accused of providing poor care that led to the amputation of both of an elderly woman's legs and then allowing her to fall out of a wheelchair after the operations.

A lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court alleges that Eva Robinson was a resident of the Life Care Center of Omaha in 2002 when the medical staff ordered a bunion removed from her right foot, even though there was no medical necessity for the procedure.

After the operation Robinson developed gangrene, which required the removal of her right leg below the knee some two months later.

The infection spread, however, and the remainder of the leg had to be amputated.

Robinson then developed an ulcer on her left foot, which went untreated and also became infected, resulting in Robinson's left leg being amputated, too.

Life Care Center employees were later transporting Robinson in a van and secured her wheelchair to the floor but did not strap her in, according to the lawsuit.

When the driver suddenly hit the brakes, Robinson fell out of the wheelchair and injured her head, the lawsuit says.

"They made no effort to secure Eva into the wheelchair, despite that Eva by that time had no legs, was elderly and frail, and was unable to hold herself in her wheelchair," the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit accuses the nursing home of negligence for failing to provide adequate care and trained staff. It asks for unspecified damages.

The nursing home is owned by Life Care Centers of America of Cleveland, Tenn. The company owns and manages more than 260 facilities in 28 states -- including retirement communities, assisted-living facilities and nursing homes. The company "has faced complaints of poor-quality care, part of a problem that plagues the industry overall," according to the research firm Hoover's.

Company spokeswoman Sebrena Sawtell said that while she could not comment on the lawsuit, "our residents are our highest priority and we do everything we can to provide them quality care."

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