Rosewood Care Center negligence trial under way in Madison County

Ann Knef Mar. 20, 2007, 10:49am

Plaintiff's attorney Robert Gregory told Madison County jurors he would prove that Rosewood Care Center was negligent in caring for a patient who suffered a fractured hip six hours into his respite visit in January 2003.

In a trial under way in Circuit Judge Dave Hylla's court, Gregory said Alfred Graves "was in essence forgotten" when, while still in his street clothes, fell on the way to the bathroom at 12:24 a.m. on Jan. 18, 2003.

A negligence suit brought by Paul Graves, the subject's son, claims the Edwardsville nursing home violated policies and procedures of care established by the state Nursing Home Care Act. Alfred Graves died in September 2004 at a different nursing home, more than a year-and-a-half after his fall at Rosewood.

Graves, who suffered from early stage dementia, was admitted Jan. 17, 2003, for a short-term visit so that his son and daughter-in-law with whom he lived could take a trip to Mexico, Gregory said. He also said he was still in his street clothes because he wasn't happy about being at the nursing home.

Gregory said it was Graves' roommate who notified staff about the accident.

As Gregory developed his case during opening arguments, a male juror's loud snoring became disruptive.

"Obviously, you're having a problem staying awake," Hylla said. The juror responded that he was sick. Hylla thanked him for his service and excused him.

"That's why we have alternates," he said.

A jury that was composed of nine men and three women, then became a jury of eight men and four women.

Gregory said he would show that a nursing care assessment wasn't completed when Alfred Graves was first admitted to Rosewood. He said that nursing charts weren't completed accurately. .

But Rosewood attorney Kevin Hoerner said the nursing home did not fail to complete any assessment as required before "the poor gentleman fell."

"The earliest required is at 24 hours," he said. "We were in compliance."

He also said that Rosewood Care Center relied upon the assessment made by Graves' primary physician who was contacted "first thing" upon admission. Graves' physician did not put any restrictions on his activity level, Hoerner said.

He said his ability to ambulate was the same the day before he arrived at the nursing home.

"Alfred Graves was his own man," Hoerner said during his opening argument. "He was not a demented, clumsy, 81-year-old man."

Hoerner said Graves could dress and bathe himself and move about home without problems.

"He had no rails on the bed, he didn't need it," he said. "There was no bell to ring, no call light. He took care of himself. There were no special accommodations made to the home.

Hoerner said Rosewood Care Center is a "state-of-the-art" nursing home, "as nice as anything."

"We're proud of the facility and proud of the care we provide," Hoerner said.

"We're here because sometimes unfortunate and bad things happen to good people and there is no one to blame for that."

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