TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ A Tulsa County jury awarded $500,000 Friday to the son of an elderly woman who allegedly died because of neglect at a nursing home.
Jurors recommended $250,000 in actual damages and $250,000 in punitive damages in favor of Milton Goodwin, representative of the estate of his mother, Ola T. Goodwin.
Milton Goodwin filed a civil lawsuit against Tulsa Christian Care Center in March 2000, alleging that because of negligence by the facility, Ola Goodwin ``developed pressure sores which became infected and caused her death.''
Ola Goodwin, then 90, lived at Tulsa Christian Care Center from Oct. 15, 1999, until Nov. 1, 1999.
Milton Goodwin's attorneys contended that within two weeks of her admittance she had developed an infected bed sore over her tailbone area, had become severely dehydrated and had a urinary tract infection that spread to her blood, according to court papers.
She was transferred on Nov. 1, 1999, to a Tulsa hospital, where she remained for more than 2 1/2 months until her death in January 2000.
Tulsa Christian Care Center denied that it provided substandard care, denied that it caused her death or any of her injuries, and maintained that Ola Goodwin's injuries resulted from an unavoidable condition.
District Judge Ronald Shaffer instructed jurors that punitive damages could be awarded if they determined ``by clear and convincing evidence'' that Tulsa Christian Care Center ``acted in reckless disregard of the rights of others.''
The verdicts were unanimous.
Jurors were also instructed that a nursing home must exercise ordinary or reasonable care to its residents and also has a duty to supervise the care rendered by its employees.
The care center argued that the care and services provided were ``commensurate with the standard of care with other nursing home facilities in the community, or practicing under the same or similar conditions.''