In the Courts: Court Finds Documentation in Medical Record More Credible than Expert's Opinion Testimony

February 23, 2018 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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In the case of a nursing home resident who died after being transferred to the hospital for pneumonia, the Court of Appeals of Florida, third district, has found that the opinions of a plaintiff's expert that a two-week gap in nursing notes illustrated a failure to monitor the resident's condition contradicted documentation in the medical record. In so ruling, the court affirmed a trial court's decision to set aside a jury verdict against the nursing facility as being against the weight of the evidence, and it affirmed the lower court's judgment in favor of the nursing home.

The resident, who had dementia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, among other illnesses, had been living at the nursing home for 17 years. On the resident's transfer to the hospital, she was diagnosed with pneumonia and a urinary tract infection. Over the next couple of weeks, hospital medical records, including results of an advanced x-ray, indicated that she was recovering from the pneumonia. She died, at age 88, at the hospital, three weeks after her admission. The death certificate listed end-stage dementia and end-stage...

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