Case details

Nursing home’s failure to give shower resulted in fall: plaintiff





Result type

Not present

fracture, knee, tibial plateau
On Feb. 2, 2019, plaintiff Catherine Gheen, 60, a real estate agent, visited her 90-year-old mother, who resided at Pacific Coast Post Acute, a skilled nursing facility in Salinas. After realizing her mother had soiled herself, Gheen notified a nurse, who washed the soiled area using disposable cloth. When Gheen saw that her mother was still uncomfortable, she brought her to a shower. Gheen slipped and fell as she reached for a towel in the shower. She suffered of a knee. Gheen sued Pacific Coast Post Acute’s operator, Salinasidence Opco, LLC. She alleged that the nursing facility was negligent for refusing to shower her mother, which ultimately created the situation that led to the slip and fall. Gheen claimed that she asked if her mother could be given a shower, but that the nurse refused because the residents were only allowed two scheduled showers per week and Gheen’s mother’s next shower was scheduled for a later date. Gheen’s counsel argued that the nurse was liable for refusing to immediately shower Gheen’s mother and that the nurse’s inaction led to Gheen’s fall. Defense counsel suggested that Gheen never asked if she could give her mother a shower, though witnesses could not recall if Gheen asked or not. Defense counsel contended that Gheen had asked to shower her mother on two prior occasions and that Gheen was told not to do that because of safety issues. Counsel argued that Gheen caused and/or contributed to the accident by showering her mother herself and that the nursing facility should not be held liable for Gheen’s own actions., Gheen sustained a tibial plateau fracture of her right knee. She was driven by her son to a hospital, where she underwent open reduction and external fixation surgery 12 hours later. She then underwent another surgery 10 days later, during which four metal screws and a plate were implanted. Gheen claimed she is left with chronic pain in her right knee. She also claimed that despite the pain, she can walk around, but that she cannot squat down or get up a flight of stairs without a running start. Gheen’s treating physician testified that any future knee replacement would be based on Gheen’s tolerance of the knee pain and that if Gheen could no longer bear it, then she could get a future knee replacement. After her fall, Gheen claimed she could not work as a real estate agent for 10 months, but was eventually able to return to work. However, she claimed she will have to be out of work again for a period of time in the future, if she decides to undergo the knee replacement surgery. The parties stipulated that the fall caused Gheen’s knee injury. They also stipulated that Gheen’s past medical costs totaled $103,000. Gheen also sought recovery of economic damages for her past and future loss of earnings, and for her future medical costs. In addition, she sought recovery of non-economic damages for her past and future pain and suffering. Defense counsel denied that Gheen suffered or will suffer any loss of wages due to the freelance nature of her work.
Superior Court of Monterey County, Monterey, CA

Recommended Experts


Get a FREE consultation for your case