May 28, 2014 8:41 PM by Andy Koen
PUEBLO - A jury awarded $3.3 million in damages to the family of a patient at the Belmont Lodge Heath Care Center. The nursing home has a history of substandard care, scoring just one out of five stars on their most recent Medicare health inspection.
The suit also marks the second time in 12 months families of patients have sued the facility and won.
In their verdict, jurors found that 82-year-old James Sharon was the victim of nursing home abuse and neglect. An attorney for the family said Sharon lost the use of his arms and legs and developed severe bedsores and other infections after becoming a patient at the facility in 2011.
"He got absolutely no range of motion to prevent (muscle) contractures the first six months of his stay at the building," said attorney Brent L. Moss. "As a result, he now continues to this day to suffer from those very same injuries."
During the trial, Moss showed jurors that in the same year Sharon was admitted to Belmont Lodge, inspectors with the Department of Health and Human Services found the facility failed to meet nutrition and hygiene standards for patients with disabilities. The inspectors also found the nursing home failed meet standards for prevention of bed sores.
"This was not an isolated event," Moss said. "It was a pattern of practice that has gone on for the last 3 years."
In fact, the company seems to have struggled to keep licensed nurses on staff. In 2011, turnover of Registered Nurses (RN) among the Belmont Lodge staff was 164 percent, a scenario Moss said created inconsistent care
"Witnesses testified, including this one particular licensed nurse, that they were fearful of their license, they left employment because they were fearful of their license."
Attorney Thomas Quinn represented Belmont Lodge in the case and said in a statement to News 5 that the legal dispute may not be completely settled.
"Belmont Lodge would like to thank the jurors for their service, but it is disappointed with the verdict," the statement read. "Belmont will continue to evaluate the outcome of this trial and the post trial options available to it.
The nursing home is operate by Sava Senior Care, a nationwide nursing home corporation based in Atlanta, Georgia. The group manages more than 200 facilities across the country including 24 in Colorado.
The News 5 Guardians searched Medicare inspection histories of those 24 Colorado facilities and found more than half (14) were given below average scores on yearly health inspections.
This map shows where the 24 Sava Senior Care facilities are located in Colorado and includes the most recent Overall Ratings as well as the Health Inspection Ratings given to each facility by Medicare.