June 2009

North Carolina Wrongful Death Lawsuit Accuses Harnett County Nursing Home of Negligence After 85-Year-Old Wanders Away and Falls into Ravine

June 29, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

The daughter of Carrie “Christine” Evans is suing a North Carolina nursing home for her mother’s wrongful death. Serita Cheryl Evans is accusing Millicent Boutchway Shylon, the owner of Primrose Retirement Villa IV, of nursing home negligence leading to Carrie Evans’s fatal fall accident earlier this year.

According to the North Carolina wrongful death complaint, the 85-year-old, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and hypertension, wandered away from the facility, fell into a ravine, and died from the head injury she sustained when she fell.

The civil lawsuit contends that the Angier nursing home workers knew that the 85-year-old was at risk for wandering yet did not do anything to prevent her elopement. Not only did Evans’s nursing care plan note that she could become disoriented and forgetful, but it also indicated that she was physically fit enough to walk at a fast pace for long distances without help. Evans also had a history of leaving the facility without help on several occasions. Despite having this information, the North Carolina nursing home did not make sure that she was constantly supervised.

The complaint claims that on February 1, the night the elderly resident wandered off, no one was available to give her the medication she needed for her nerves and sleep deprivation issues. Also, the security system used to prevent patients from wandering was not working. The system had not been inspected since 2005.

After Evans died, the Harnett County Department of Social Services fined the Angier nursing home for a number of safety violations, including failure to properly supervise residents so that they are protected from serious injury and not correcting certain care quality issues that the state of North Carolina had been asking the nursing home to fix for some time now. Inadequate training has also been an issue, say inspectors.

The state has inspected Primrose Retirement Villa IV 28 times in the past two years. Usually, it is standard for the state to investigate a North Carolina nursing home no more than four times a year.

Serita Cheryl Evans is seeking at least $10,000 from the Harnett County assisted living facility.

Daughter Of Resident Who Fell To Her Death Sues, DunnDailyRecord, June 15, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Nursing Home Compare, Medicare.gov

Harnett County Department of Social Services, Harnett County

Why Do Wandering Management Systems in Nursing Homes Fail?, EzineArticles.com,

North Carolina Premises Liability: Two Recent Child Drowning Accidents in Hotels Claim Lives

June 22, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

With almost 300 kids under age 5 drowning in pools and spas every year, it is important that spa owners and managers implement all the necessary safety precautions to prevent more North Carolina child drowning injuries and deaths from happening.

Safety initiatives that pool and spa owners and supervisors can take:

• Make sure that the pool is fenced in and that the barricade is high enough to prevent children from being able to climb over or open the gate without adult supervision.
• Don’t allow kids into a pool or spa without adult supervision.
• Install pool alarms just in case a child manages to enter the pool or spa area without supervision.
• Make sure that the person in charge of supervising the pool area is someone that knows how to swim and is actually paying attention to the kids that are in the pool.
• Install the new federally mandated pool and spa safety drains that are designed to prevent kids and adult from getting suctioned to the bottom of the pool or spa and drowning.

Drowning accidents are often fatal. Earlier this month in Raleigh, a 5-year-old boy drowned at the North Hills Club pool. Some 50 people were there attending a party at the time of the tragic North Carolina drowning accident and there were four lifeguards on duty.

According to police, the child went to the pool area with an aunt and uncle. He wandered to the adult pool while they stayed by the children’s pool. A swimmer saw the boy at the bottom of the pool. Lifeguards retrieved the him and they performed CPR while waiting for paramedics. The child was taken to WakeMed where he was pronounced dead.

In May, a Greensboro boy also died n a pool drowning accident. The tragic incident occurred in South Carolina. According to the coroner’s office in Myrtle Beach, Owaes Tabbakh was at the Beach Colony Resort when a lifeguard discovered him floating in a pool. The lifeguard performed CPR on him until paramedics arrived. Emergency workers were unable to revive the boy who was later pronounced dead.

In the event that an adult or child survives a North Carolina or South Carolina drowning accident, he or she may be left with permanent traumatic brain injuries. The drowning victim may require lifelong, round-the-clock, costly medical care.

Child drowns in North Hills Club pool, WRAL.com, June 10, 2009

4-year-old drowns in Myrtle Beach, CarolinaLive.com, May 29, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Pool and Spa Submersion: Estimated Injuries and Reported Fatalities, 2009 (PDF)

Virginia Graeme Baker Pool Spa and Safety Act (PDF)


Products Liability: Bausch & Lomb Pays Over $250 Million to 600 Plaintiffs for Eye Fungus Injuries

June 16, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

In the last year, optical products company Bausch & Lomb has settled almost 600 products liability lawsuits related to its ReNu MoistureLoc multi-purpose contact lense solution. Dozens of other individual personal injury complaints are still pending.

Over 700 contact lenses users in the US and Asia claim that they suffered from Fusarium keratitis because they used the solution, which was pulled off US store shelves in April 2006. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that from June 2005 to September 2006 there were 180 confirmed cases in 35 US states. After that point, the CDC stopped its surveillance.

Seven people in the US reportedly had to have an eye removed because of the infection and at least 60 people had corneal transplants to save their vision. A racecar driver’s career ended as a result of his injury. Another person who lost his eye became addicted to painkillers, resulting in the collapse of his marriage and business.

Fusarium Keratitis
This rare infection can lead to inflammation of the cornea. Victims often experience severe pain. Delayed diagnosis has been known to occur and can cause the infection to grow worse. One woman didn’t know about the recall and suffered from the infection for two months. She lost an eye.

It is still unclear how the contact solution played a role in the mass fungal outbreak. One theory is that its disinfectant got into the lenses at a very high rate and the moisturizing agents produced a biofilm that either shielded or helped grow the fungus until the infections occurred.

MoistureLoc has also been linked to different types of viral, bacterial, and parasitic ailments. Plaintiffs have filed over 500 products liability lawsuits for their injuries. One woman claims that after her eye became infected she sustained a scar that blurred her vision and took a year to heal. Bausch & Lomb is denying that there is a link between the solution and these infections.

Bausch & Lomb settles 600 eye fungus lawsuits, AP, May 31, 2009

General Information about Fusarium Keratitis, CDC, May 10, 2006

Related Web Resources:
Bausch and Lomb

Instructions for Cleaning Contact Lenses

North Carolina Child Sex Abuse Lawsuit Names Two Priests as the Perpetrators

June 3, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

In Buncombe County Superior Court, a man has filed a North Carolina child sex abuse lawsuit seeking damages for the physical and emotional abuse he says he allegedly suffered as a teenager at the hands of two priests at the Basilica of St. Lawrence in Asheville. One of the priests that he names as his perpetrator, pastor Father Justine Paul Pechulis, died in 1983. The other priest he says molested him is retired Father John McCole.

The defendants named in the North Carolina clergy sexual abuse lawsuit are the Diocese of Charlotte and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The plaintiff, Steven Souder, claims that church officials took part in a conspiracy to protect pedophile priests, including McCole and Pechulis.

Souder, who used to be an altar boy, says that the two priests forced him to take part in group oral sex while on a trip to Asheville during the 1970’s. He accuses McCole of taking advantage of him and sexually abusing him several times. McCole denies the alleged abuse incidents ever happened. Souder’s complaint also claims that when he reported the abuse to a higher ranking clergy member, he was told that what was happening to him wasn’t inappropriate.

The plaintiff, who suffers from mental illness, says he repressed the memories of the abuse for years until 2007 when the archdiocese sent him a letter talking about clergy sex abuse.

North Carolina law doesn’t count the time when a person’s memories of sexual abuse were repressed toward the statute of limitations for filing sexual abuse lawsuits. The statute of limitations only begins running after the memories have been recovered.

Clergy Sex Abuse
In the last seven years, hundreds of people have come forward claiming that priests sexually abused them. Even as the clergy sex abuse scandal rocked the United States, victims in other countries also stepped forward to make similar allegations against the priests in the areas where they lived. The leaders of the Catholic Church have been accused of covering up the abuse incidents for decades, which has allowed pedophile priests to strike at new victims over and over again.

Sexual abuse of any kind causes serious personal injury to victims and their families and can be grounds for a North Carolina personal injury lawsuit.

70s altar boy alleges abuse & that Krol abetted cover-up, Philadelphia Daily News, June 2, 2009

Sex abuse lawsuit names deceased Asheville priest, Citizen-Times, June 2, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Spotlight Abuse in the Catholic Church, The Boston Globe

Basilica of St. Lawrence


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