Michigan Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit: Jury Awards Family $5M After Lawyers Prove Staff’s Negligence

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Written By: Jeffrey JohnsonUPDATED: Jul 16, 2021Fact Checked

A Michigan nursing home abuse lawsuit has concluded with a jury awarding nearly $5 million to the family of man who died in a nursing home after the their nursing home abuse lawyers were able to prove to the jury that a morphine overdose and nursing home staff negligence were the real reasons for the patient’s death.

Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit

This Michigan nursing home abuse lawsuit involved Burr Needham, a 76 year old Jehovah’s Witness who was admitted to the Mercy Memorial Nursing Center to receive physical therapy after breaking his hip. According to news reports, Mercy’s staff later complained that Needham had become incompetent. His wife, also a senior citizen, began making all of his medical decisions. She refused to have him transferred to a hospital and requested that nursing home staff administer oral morphine to him – which they began to do. However, Needham later died and an autopsy revealed that he died of a morphine overdose. His family hired a Michigan nursing home abuse lawyer and filed a nursing home abuse lawsuit against the Center.

Experienced Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Proves Negligence

The family’s nursing home abuse lawyer had a difficult task in this nursing home abuse lawsuit as the nursing home denied any wrongdoing and because the State of Michigan never charged the nursing home with any crime. Luckily, the nursing home abuse lawyer’s experience paid off in the end. He was able to prove to a jury that:

  • A medical examiner ruled Needham’s death a homicide caused by acute morphine intoxication – even though no charges were ever filed in the case.
  • Ten milliliters of the nursing home’s morphine was unaccounted for at the time of Needham’s death according to pharmacy records.
  • An independent toxicologist verified the medical examiner’s ruling and also concluded that Needham suffered from a morphine overdose – even though defense counsel argued that morphine levels can be higher when taken post-mortem.

The jury deliberated for six hours before ruling in favor of Needham’s family and awarded them $4.85 million.

Nursing home abuse lawsuit damages

The $4.85 million nursing home abuse verdict consisted of $350,000 for economic damages, $1.5 million for Needham’s pain and suffering and $3 million for Needham’s wife’s pain and suffering. Nursing home abuse lawsuits such as this can result in large damage awards. In fact, a recent Kentucky nursing home abuse lawsuit awarded $7.5 million to a woman whose leg had to be amputated due to the nursing home staff negligence.

If you or someone you love has been injured due to nursing home abuse or nursing home neglect, contact an experienced elder law lawyer in your state to discuss your situation, determine whether you or your family may have a lawsuit and find out the types of damages for which you may be entitled.

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

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