WGMC to pay $325k in lawsuit

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 4, 2016

By Tyler H. Jones



LaGRANGE — A malpractice lawsuit against West Georgia Medical Center ended Thursday with a jury awarding $325,000 in damages to the estate of a woman who slipped and fell while she was a patient at the hospital.

The lawsuit, filed in Troup County State Court in November 2012, alleged WGMC nurses “failed to exercise the required level of care and skill in providing basic nursing services” to a 60-year-old Greenville woman admitted to the hospital in 2010 with acute pneumonia, court records show.

Attorneys for WGMC denied that claim in other court filings.

During her stay at the hospital, the 60 year old, who court records say also suffered from “morbid obesity, obstructive sleep apnea, diabetes” and several other serious conditions, broke her leg when she slipped and fell after taking a shower.

According to court records, the woman requested a bath and a registered nurse allowed her to take a shower, instead of a bed bath. The registered nurse left the patient alone in the shower, despite hospital staff having previously identifying her as being at risk for a fall. After the registered nurse left the patient, a certified nursing assistant later arrived and was present when the woman exited the shower and slipped while leaving the bathroom.

The patient suffered a break to her femur, the upper leg bone that connects to the hip. She underwent orthopedic surgery a few days later.

As the lawsuit was working its way through state court, the plaintiff died in January 2014, but her family, acting under her estate, continued the suit.

An attorney for the plaintiff could not be reached by press time this morning.

WGMC President and CEO Jerry Fulks said the hospital, which has received awards for patient satisfaction and quality of care, works to maintain high standards. He stood by the competency of his staff.

“We respect the jury’s decision,” he said. “However, we continue to believe that our nurses and other caregivers gave proper care to (the patient). We wish the best to (patient’s) family.”

Tyler H. Jones is a reporter with LaGrange Daily News. He may be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2155.