Mistrial called in Rosewood Care Center trial

Steve Gonzalez and Ann Knef Mar. 26, 2007, 11:51am

Madison County Circuit Judge Dave Hylla declared a mistrial in a case against Rosewood Care Center of Edwardsville after jurors failed to reach a verdict.

After deliberating 13 hours since Friday, Hylla on Monday afternoon excused the deadlocked jurors who could not unanimously decide on Rosewood's alleged negligence in its care of Alfred Graves.

Paul Graves sued the nursing home after his father suffered a fractured hip six hours into his respite care visit in January 2003.

Plaintiff's attorney Robert Gregory argued that 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.

Gregory argued that Rosewood 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.

He told jurors 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."

More News