Trial opens with nurse's testimony in personal injury suit against Rosewood Care Center

Amelia Flood Jun. 21, 2011, 9:21am


The trial testimony of a nurse began the plaintiff's case in a personal injury suit filed against Rosewood Care Center Inc. by a former resident who claims to have fractured her leg after a fall.

Former Rosewood nurse Janet Holcomb gave testimony about the plaintiff's fall risk and the nursing home's procedures to prevent falls at the beginning of the plaintiff's case after closing arguments concluded Tuesday morning in St. Clair County Associate Judge Andrew Gleeson's court.

Holcomb's testimony began at 10:15 a.m. following a short recess.

Plaintiff Delia Marguerite Giannini is suing the nursing home for damages in excess of $75,000 and other damages.

Giannini alleges that nursing home staff members did not follow plans laid out for her care and did not properly address her risk of falling.

As a result, during Giannini's October 2005 stay at the nursing home, she fell and claims she suffered a fracture of her left femur.

Rosewood denies the claims.

Under direct examination by plaintiff's attorney Samantha Unsell, Holcomb testified about her former employer's ways of assessing patients and the fall risk determination she made for Giannini.

Holcomb testified that measures like putting a patient on a scheduled time to visit the bathroom and a personal alarm would be ways she believed would have prevented the plaintiff's fall.

The nurse testified that medical conditions Giannini had before coming to Rosewood, such as heart conditions, macular degeneration, and problems communicating should have alerted staff to her need for a personal alarm and other anti-fall measures.

Defense attorney Dennis McCubbin, on cross examination, took issue with what seemed to be Holcomb's testimony that all fall-risk patients should have personal alarms and a toileting schedule.

When asked about both of those prior statements, Holcomb said she did not mean to say that all patients with fall risks should be put on the schedule or have the alarms.

McCubbin's line of questioning about Holcomb's testimony about the fall prevention methods drew several objections from the plaintiff's counsel.

Testimony in the plaintiff's case including the testimony of other Rosewood staff members was set to continue through the rest of Tuesday.

The trial began Monday with jury selection.

Samantha Unsell represents the plaintiff.

Dennis McCubbin is lead defense counsel for Rosewood.

St. Clair County Associate Judge Andrew Gleeson presides.

The trial will continue Wednesday.

The case is St. Clair case number 06-L-456.

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