Iowa Nursing Home Sued for Abuse, Breach of Contract, and Wrongful Death

A nursing home malpractice lawsuit has been filed against a shut-down Iowa nursing home and its former corporate owners in the wake of the death of one of its residents, says an Iowa Capital Dispatch article. The lawsuit alleges that the Fort Dodge Villa Care Center committed dependent adult abuse and breach of contract and is responsible for the wrongful death of a nursing home resident who, after falling and sustaining an injury that the home ignored, died in excruciating pain five days later.

The lawsuit, brought by the family of Robert Kahler, describes the following details of alleged nursing home malpractice surrounding the 77-year-old man’s injury and death:

  • On June 27, 2021, a certified medication aide recognized that Kahler, who was walking near the dining room of the home, was about to lose his balance and fall. When the aid called out to a nurse to intervene, the nurse, who was on her cell phone, declined to look up or assist Kahler, who fell to the concrete floor.
  • As the nurse continued talking on her phone, Kahler was removed to his room. Despite his claims that his hip hurt him, Kahler was not given a physical, neurological, or pain assessment.
  • Despite “repeatedly calling out in pain, moaning, crying, grimacing, clenching his fists and pulling or pushing away,” Kahler was not provided pain medication. His medical file reports he sustained a “fall with no injury.”
  • Kahler was finally given pain medication about 22 hours later; it was insufficient to assuage his pain. In the days after his fall he “resisted being transferred or moved,” uttered screams that “could be heard across the facility” and even stopped eating and drinking. He “was crying, shaking, and begging God to take his life.”
  • A swift decline ensued in which Kahler lost the ability to swallow and developed a fever. Kahler died on July 2, 2021.

According to the state report, inspectors were told by a staff nurse that Kahler’s hip injury would have been readily apparent had an assessment been made, as his hip was “rotated all the way to his buttock.”

At the time of the incident, Fort Dodge Villa was owned by Quality Health Care (QHC). Last year, QHC sold the home to Blue Care Homes of New Jersey, which opted to close it due to the significant fines owed for nursing home malpractice. When state inspectors investigated the matter of Kohler’s alleged wrongful death, they substantiated several other nursing home malpractice complaints against the facility. Fort Dodge Villa was cited for 18 federal and four state violations. Daily federal fines for uncorrected nursing home malpractice accrued at a rate of nearly $9,000 per day, eventually totaling over $685,000.

Kahler’s family’s nursing home malpractice lawsuit names as defendants the following corporate owners and managers: QHC Management, QHC Facilities, and Quality Health Care Specialists; however, due to QHC’s declaration of bankruptcy in 2021 (QHC operated eight Iowa nursing homes and two assisted living facilities and owed the state about $4 million in unpaid nursing home malpractice fees), all QHC entities were dissolved and no longer exist. The QHC’s primary owners are now deceased.

The Tragic Need for a Wrongful Death Attorney

As the result of Robert Kahler’s caregivers’ alleged acts of nursing home malpractice, his family found itself in the unthinkable position of needing to obtain a wrongful death attorney. It is unfortunately the case in certain circumstances that the sustained absence of care directly contributes to the decline and death of fragile nursing home residents. If you see signs that your loved one’s nursing home is responsible for nursing home malpractice, or if you find yourself in the tragic circumstance of needing a wrongful death attorney, don’t hesitate: contact a nursing home malpractice and wrongful death attorney immediately.

Protecting Your Loved One against Nursing Home Abuse, Neglect, and Wrongful Death

Attorney Brian P. Murphy is dedicated to protecting the safety and preserving the rights of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, or New Jersey nursing home residents. Nursing home malpractice and wrongful death attorney Brian Murphy strives to hold negligent Philadelphia/PA or NJ nursing homes accountable for physical abuse, psychological abuse, neglect, and other types of nursing home malpractice. Should you find yourself needing to contact a nursing home malpractice and wrongful death attorney, or if you need guidance in choosing a nursing home, call Brian Murphy today to discuss your legal options.