Eunice Smith Home sued over resident's death

Andrea Dearden Nov. 3, 2011, 2:34am

Eunice Smith Home and its owner are accused of causing a resident's death within just two week of being admitted to the long-term care facility in Alton.

George Perica, as special administrator of the estate of Nick Perica, filed a lawsuit Oct. 26 in Madison County Circuit Court against Alton Memorial Hospital, doing business as Eunice Smith Home. The owner of Eunice Smith Home, BJC Health System, doing business as BJC Healthcare, is also named as a defendant.

George Perica says Nick Perica was admitted to Eunice Smith Home on Aug. 17, 2010, after a hospitalization. Thirteen days later, Perica was allegedly found to be lethargic and moved back to the hospital. According to the complaint, Perica was found to have "multiple pressure ulcers to his coccyx, buttocks and both heels; a significant weight loss and dehydration."

George Perica says Eunice Smith Home had a duty to exercise ordinary care and not to cause its patient, Nick Perica, injury or further health problems. The suit alleges the College Avenue facility and its parent company were negligent for failing to provide adequate medical care or health assessments to properly diagnose the ulcers or dehydration and failing to tell Perica's doctors or family members about his significant weight loss.

George Perica says these alleged inadequacies, along with the absence of an updated resident care plan, constitute violations of the Illinois Nursing Care Act, Illinois Survival Statute and Illinois Wrongful Death Act.

George Perica says Nick Perica "suffered a marked deterioration of his prior physical condition" after going to live at Eunice Smith Home. He says the patient suffered severe and permanent disability, great pain and anguish during his time at the long-term care facility. Perica allegedly died as a result of complications from injuries he received while in the care of Eunice Smith Home staff.

George Perica is asking for $200,000 in damages to compensate for the alleged injuries to which led to Nick Perica's death, along with the pecuniary loss to the man's wife and children as a result.

Attorney Robert H. Gregory of East Alton is representing George Perica.

Madison County Circuit Court Case No. 11-L-1101

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