Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2013, 6:18 pm

Nursing home faces negligence suit

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By Rachel Warmke, rwarmke@qconline.com

Rock Island Nursing and Rehabilitation Center is being sued by the brother of a 36-year-old former patient who allegedly died as the result of negligent care.

Ken Kennedy, age and address unknown, also filed the wrongful death suit against the rehab center's management company, S.I.R. Management Inc., and a number of nursing staff, including Dawn May, Letha Knox, Latonya Craig, Sharon Coles and Charlene Whiting.

The suit alleges that several employees at the nursing home, at 2545 24th St., Rock Island, failed to properly treat and care for Ken's brother, Danny Kennedy, who died April 14, 2011, the suit claims, from "septic shock, multisystem organ failure and deep scalp hemorrhage."

The suit asks for more than $50,000 in damages.

Representatives from the nursing home and S.I.R. did not return calls for comment Wednesday.

According to the suit, Danny Kennedy was admitted to the rehab center in October 2010 and throughout the next year, made frequent trips to the hospital.

In the winter of 2010, while still living at the center, Danny developed dermatitis and a rash across his lower torso and, in January, 2011, developed Stage 2 pressure ulcers (or bedsores), according to the suit, which was filed Jan. 28 in Rock Island County Circuit Court.

Danny was hospitalized in late January 2011 with sepsis, acute lactic acidosis and dehydration. When he returned to the center, the suit contends, employees failed to indicate on their reports that he suffered from pressure ulcers. His condition worsened, the suit states, and by February he had Stage 4 bedsores.

Danny was hospitalized in March of that year after falling out of his bed at the rehab center and injuring his head and spine. Soon after he returned to the center, he began vomiting, which nursing staff allegedly failed to clean up in a timely manner. They also did not notify doctors when the patient's hemoglobin and hematocrit levels were abnormal, the complaint claims.

Danny was found not breathing on April 13, 2011, and he died at the hospital the following day.

The lawsuit claims that staff at the nursing center repeatedly violated the Nursing Home Care Act by not employing "appropriate interventions" to prevent Danny's pressure ulcers and other conditions from progressing.

The center and its staff have a duty to "ensure the health and safety of all residents" and should have contacted doctors as Danny's health worsened, the complaint states.

Instead, as the result of the alleged ill treatment he received, the suit contends that "Danny Kennedy sustained serious and permanent injuries; expended great sums of money in an attempt to be cured; suffered from disability and disfigurement; and experienced great pain and physical suffering prior to his death."

A May 16 case management conference has been scheduled to review the matter.