The case is Elizabeth Costlow vs. Subacute Services Inc, SAS Rockmart Inc., d/b/a Rockmart Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, administrator Karen Forrister and the facility’s director of nursing Kim McMichael.
Costlow’s mother, Ruby Mae Tyler, 82, was admitted to Rockmart Nursing and Rehabilitation Center Dec. 21, 2007.
The allegation is that Tyler’s three-month stay resulted in infected pressure ulcers that resulted in a leg amputation, escalated fever, and numerous other infections resulting in her death April 6, 2008.
Costlow wants to be reimbursed for all expenses relating to her mother’s medical expenses and funeral totaling more than $121,000 plus any punitive damages from pain and suffering.
The nursing home’s defense attorneys presented their key witness, Dr. Aimee Garcia, a Texas physician who specializes in wound care, in Friday’s round of testimony.
Garcia reviewed Tyler’s medical records and treatment plans dating back to the beginning of her stay at another facility in Rome.
Her conclusion was there were a number of medical factors leading to pressure sores on Tyler, including periodic nutrition problems.
“As they were able to get her nutrition up, she would heal and this happened throughout her stay,” Garcia said.
Records from the prior facility indicated Tyler was a high risk for amputation, she said.
Garcia also testified regarding pictures of Tyler’s wounds. She said pictures show wounds healing, indicating Tyler was getting proper treatment at Rockmart Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.
Costlow’s attorney asked Garcia in cross-examination about proper documentation of providing care and assessment.
Attorney’s for the plaintiff are claiming there are as many as 63 errors, which they claim constitute fraud, found in Tyler’s treatment records from Rockmart Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.
Garcia said documentation problems are not uncommon in her field.
She told the nursing home attorney she can make a judgment on Tyler’s care at the Rockmart long-term care facility in spite of shortcomings in record keeping.
“Basically, what you look at is the entire picture,” Garcia said. There are things I can pull out from other parts of the record.”
Garcia said it was her estimation the facility was providing proper standard care for Tyler.
The trial is expected to continue next week.