Alexander v. Evergreen Healthcare

Fern Alexander was a patient on the Alzheimer’s Unit of an Evergreen skilled nursing facility. In her four years there, she was assaulted by other patients five times and suffered four black eyes. The final assault left her with a ruptured eyeball. Instead of rushing her to the hospital, the nursing home staff left her in bed for eighteen days, apparently expecting the eyeball to heal itself.

When Mrs. Alexander was finally brought to the hospital, it was too late to save her eye. Worse, by then Mrs. Alexander had developed a host of other complications, which led to her death.

Lesley and her team discovered that the nursing home was chronically understaffed. Unbeknownst to patients’ families, the locked Alzheimer’s Unit was left with no nurse all night long. (It is little wonder the patients regularly assaulted each other). Lesley is nothing if not persistent: through dogged investigation and discovery, she was able to show that the nursing home’s understaffing was a deliberate policy designed to increase the profits funneled to the parent company. After some very favorable rulings from the court, the nursing home and its parent company settled for a substantial sum on the eve of trial.

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