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Williams v. Manhattan Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, LLC

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

September 30, 2014

RODNEY WILLIAMS, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS ADMINISTRATOR FOR THE ESTATE OF MANNIE EARL WILLIAMS, AND ON BEHALF OF THE WRONGFUL DEATH BENEFICIARIES OF MANNIE EARL WILLIAMS, APPELLANT
v.
MANHATTAN NURSING & REHABILITATION CENTER, LLC, APPELLEE

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: HINDS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 02/14/2013. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. WILLIAM A. GOWAN JR. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: GRANTED DIRECTED VERDICT IN FAVOR OF APPELLEE FOR APPELLANT'S FAILURE TO PROVIDE EXPERT TESTIMONY ESTABLISHING PROXIMATE CAUSE.

FOR APPELLANT: W. ERIC STRACENER JR., WALTER ANDREW NEELY.

FOR APPELLEE: W. DAVIS FRYE, BARRY W. FORD, ANDREA LA'VERNE FORD EDNEY, BRADLEY CLAYTON MOODY.

BEFORE LEE, C.J., BARNES, ISHEE AND FAIR, JJ. LEE, C.J., IRVING, P.J., BARNES, ROBERTS, CARLTON, MAXWELL AND FAIR, JJ., CONCUR. GRIFFIS, P.J., CONCURS IN PART AND IN THE RESULT WITHOUT SEPARATE WRITTEN OPINION. JAMES, J., DISSENTS WITHOUT SEPARATE WRITTEN OPINION.

OPINION

Page 21

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - WRONGFUL DEATH

ISHEE, J.

¶1. This appeal stems from a medical-negligence action filed by Rodney Williams against Manhattan Nursing & Rehabilitation Center LLC (Manhattan) in the Hinds County Circuit Court. At the conclusion of Williams's case-in-chief, Manhattan moved for a directed verdict. The circuit court granted the motion. Aggrieved, Williams appeals. Finding no error, we affirm.

STATEMENT OF FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2. Williams filed a complaint on November 3, 2008, alleging that Manhattan breached a nursing standard of care when his grandmother, Mannie Earl Williams (Mannie), developed an ulcer that Williams claims caused her death. This case went to trial twice. The first trial ended in June 2011 with a jury verdict in favor of Williams. Manhattan then filed a motion for a new trial, which was granted. Williams did not appeal this decision, and the second trial was set for January 22, 2013.

¶3. Mannie was admitted to Manhattan's facilities on September 6, 2006, for rehabilitation after she fell at home and fractured her pelvis. Mannie was eighty-six years old and had significant medical problems, including: end-stage renal disease, hypertension, congestive heart failure, atrial fibrillation, and enlargement of the heart. A few years prior to being admitted to Manhattan, she had been hospitalized for respiratory infections, pneumonia, and bronchitis. During her residency with Manhattan, she was hospitalized on multiple occasions for pulmonary issues.

¶4. On February 13, 2007, Mannie developed a reddened area on her coccyx. The area became infected with fungal dermatitis, and eventually advanced into a stage-four ulcer. This ulcer serves as the focus of Williams's claim that Manhattan was negligent in caring for Mannie and that Mannie's death was a result of Manhattan's negligence. On February 19, 2007, Mannie was admitted to St. Dominic's Hospital. Five days later, Mannie died. The death certificate listed the cause of death as cardiopulmonary failure, pneumonia, and other significant conditions, including end-stage renal disease and pleural effusions. The final diagnoses listed on Mannie's discharge summary included: end-stage renal disease, congestive heart failure, bilateral pleural effusions, bilateral infiltrates, chronic deep venous thrombosis, and sepsis.

¶5. Williams presented Nurse Luanna Trahant to establish that Manhattan breached a nursing standard of care. According to Trahant, Manhattan breached the standard of care by failing to provide Mannie with a planned program to reduce the risk of her becoming completely incontinent. Trahant testified that Mannie should have been placed on a toileting schedule upon admission to Manhattan, where she would be assisted in using the bathroom herself instead of becoming dependent on briefs and diapers. Trahant established that Mannie was ...


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