In the Courts: Nurses May Not Testify about Fall as Cause of Resident's Death, but Death Certificate May Serve as Evidence

January 25, 2019 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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In a lawsuit alleging that a resident died because of complications from a fall at a nursing home, the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas has found that the two nurses that the plaintiffs presented as medical experts could not testify about the cause of the resident's death. It also found, however, that the death certificate made the cause of death an issue for the jury. The court granted in part and denied in part the nursing home operator's motion for summary judgment.

The resident had several health issues, including a history of seizures and strokes, congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, hypertension, atrial fibrillation, chronic kidney disease, edema, muscle weakness, and depression. When she had been living at the nursing home for nine weeks, she fell from her wheelchair, breaking her hip. She was brought to the hospital, and the...

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