Family to sue nursing home over woman's death

Family says woman didn't get medical help for 3 hours after fall

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The family of an elderly woman from Mandarin, who died last January, is suing the nursing home entrusted with her care.

Her relatives said they didn’t get a phone call for three hours that Nadine McBurnett had taken a fall at the Terrace of Jacksonville facility on Old St. Augustine Road.

They said if she had gotten timely medical attention, she would not have died, and they said the facility has been covering it up.

McBurnett's family has sent an intent to sue letter to the Terrace of Jacksonville facility.

READ: Letter of intent to sue

The family said McBurnett was having her bed sheets changed by a nursing assistant, and the railing on the bed was pulled down. McBurnett fell off the bed and was severely injured, her family said. But her daughter, Patte Wallace, said all the workers did for her mother was to clean her up and put her back in the bed.

“(She was) just laying there totally out, totally unconscious, no response, covered up and cleaned up, and it wasn’t until we got her to the hospital that I realized she had a broken hip,” Wallace said.

Wallace said apparently McBurnett's wounds were not addressed, because when she went to the hospital, she was covered in bruises on her head and shoulders. She remained alive for around another month, but with a broken hip.

The ambulance company report said McBurnett had a large 4-5-inch long and 1.5-2-inch wide hematoma beginning just above her right eye.

“If this has been a child, if this had been a teenager, if this had been a young mom, or excuse me, if this had been a dog and this happened to them, this would be outrage. This would be everywhere,” Wallace said. “But this is an old lady who looks pathetic right there, and they see her as no value.”

Wallace is filing a lawsuit. Her attorney, Steve Watrel, said there was a video camera outside McBurnett's room door, but that video has been deleted.

“We know that there was a video in the hallway that showed the certified nursing assistant and the nurse going in and out of the room and their state of mind,” Watrel said. “I’ve learned in the discovery process so far that the facility has destroyed that videotape, and we believe it’s an effort to hide what happened and hide who’s accountable.”

Wallace said her mother was a large woman and required two nursing assistants to move her, but at the time of her fall, only one was helping her.

Officials with Terrace of Jacksonville said they can't comment on the pending lawsuit.

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