Indianapolis, Indiana


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Chrissie Cole
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Indiana Court Reinstates Wrongful Death Lawsuit

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The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled, on Wednesday, that the estate of an Allen County woman can proceed with a wrongful death lawsuit filed against a Fort Wayne nursing home.

In August, Martha, fractured her hip. After surgery, she was transported to Bethlehem Woods Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. In the days following the surgery, her incision was torn due to the wheelchair, provided by the nursing home, was too small.

At one point, she was left on a bed pan for six hours, resulting in severe ulcers. Then on Sept. 22, after a dialysis treatment, a Bethlehem employee discovered her lying in a pool of her own blood, the ruling said.

She was transferred to the hospital on the same day, but she died Nov. 6.

In October of 2003, her estate filed a wrongful death suit against the nursing home. The nursing home argued that the case should be handled under medical malpractice law, which has a statute of limitations of two years from the date of malpractice. Originally, trial court agreed and dismissed the suit.

Attorneys for the state appealed and argued the case should be handled under wrongful death statute of limitations which is two years from the date of death.

The estate met the wrongful death limitations but filed a month too late for medical malpractice.