Suit: Nurse Neglect Led To L.I. Man’s Brain Damage

SHIRLEY, N.Y. (CBS 2) — A Long Island family has filed a lawsuit charging that nurses ignored the alarms triggered by a problem with their loved one’s ventilator.

Robert Knowles is currently being treated at his home following massive brain damage he suffered last March. Knowles’ wife, Gladys, said the injury was caused by neglect from nurses at Medford Multicare Center.

gladys knowles Suit: Nurse Neglect Led To L.I. Mans Brain Damage

Gladys Knowles (Photo/CBS 2)

“My husband unfortunately was suffocating and nobody came to help him,” Knowles told CBS 2’s John Slattery.

Knowles has filed a lawsuit on behalf of her 59-year-old husband accusing workers at the nursing home of oxygen deprivation. The former truck driver had already been in a wheel chair and left quadriplegic from a fall in 2007, but had been mentally sharp.

The family said Robert Knowles’ ventilator became dislodged and that warning signals were ignored for 24 minutes.

The family’s lawyer obtained a surveillance video which allegedly shows a nurse failing to respond to both a warning buzzer and lights on a computer grid.

“Nobody went to his room. She didn’t get up. She didn’t call anybody,” Gladys Knowles said.

“We’re hoping that people take a look at this and understand that if an alarm goes off, you have to respond,” she said.

The lawsuit accuses a total of three employees of ignoring buzzers and the family said Knowles suffered severe brain damage and a seizure disorder as a result.

“And they didn’t go in to check the patient. That’s another thing that has always struck me about the case.” Ira Podlofsky, the family’s lawyer, said.

A spokesperson for Medford Multicare had no comment because of the litigation.

Comments

One Comment

  1. RT67 says:

    I too work at a facilty in the bronx and too often the nursing Staff are fresh out of a foreign nursing school where perhaps mechanical ventilators are not a part of the training. These “new grad” get paid insulting wages through locked contracts and are tossed into ventilator units and are told “oh dont worry about the beeping thats the therapists job.” When in fact the safety of the residents is everyones responsibility. When I presented this case and said a nurse will probrably lose her license over this the response was indiference and disbelief. I am interested in following the litigation and subsequent outcome. The system is in a definate need of a wake up call.

  2. RachaelP says:

    I cannot belive half of the comments. He was on a vent unit. There is NO excuse for not even ONE staff member responding to that alarm! Where was the respiratory therpaist throughout all of this? And specialty units dont have high patinet to nurse ratios. So, what is the point some of you are trying to make? It was the mans fault? Someone is to blame. In my opinion, first to blame is management for not having a plan backed with consequences if someone ignores an alarm, second, the respiratory therapist in charge should be fired on the spot, third the nursing staff IGNORING the “ABC’s” of nursing all of us nurses learn in school (responding to Airway, Breathing, Cirulation emergencys) There is no other way to view the video. They ignored him, he is now brain damaged and his life is forever changed. IT doesnt matter if he was a quad before this they took away his ability to think. How sad. I hope for this poor mans sake, jurors will see this and take this horribly run facility to the cleaners and bankrupt them so they go out of business! Sincerely, A good, caring Suffolk County nurse!

    1. joleine says:

      well ive had my family member in this facility . i must say thye do a great job there no one there to me has ever intentionally ignored any body there must have been a system error which happens a lot on this unit. the nurses are treates unfairly ive even seen nurses being left to carfe for about 13 ventillator patients pick up orders, call doctors ..and now their images are being tarnished over a 10 sec clip .the media couldve showed you anything to get u to believe that nurses intentionally”ignored ” this mAN the ppl in this video how can u say or sure theyre all nurses, and btw what about all the other people who came around the hall. where was the RT. how do you know this man was not already brain damaged and the media threw that in there to make you believe it was due to this incident, someone should look more into this story, i dont think any one wakes up in the am, comes to work and decides”im goingto ignore my paitents alarms today” as as for u good caring suffolk nurse its time that nurses stop gossiping and bashing each other, and prolaiming whos the best nurse ..this couldve happened to anyone

      1. JOLEINE says:

        and remember hospitals are different wit rqatios atnigt on som of these units tey ar left wth 1 RN , TO CARE FOR 20 VENT PATIENS WHILE AN LPN MEDICATES 20 VENT PAITIENTS BC THEY CAN SAY ITS SUB ACUTE .THAS WHAT I SAW THERE EVERYDAY 3 YRS A GO WHILE I VISIED MY LOVED ONE SOMTIMES THYE WERE FULL ALL 40 BEDS WITH THESE RATOS…THEREFORE DONTBELIEVE ALL OF WHAT YOU SEE

    2. Filomena says:

      Nurses beware. It could easily be you on that camera. Having knowledge of this event, I can tell you that the ventilator monitoring system (computer) failed on the day in question. This caused the information that the ventilator was dislodged to NOT be communicated to the nursing station and the nurses. Not that the Media and the family would want anyone to know that. It is much easier to sue people and besmirch their good name. Anone thinking of going into nursing, beware.

  3. michelle says:

    There are two sides to every story. It amazes me how people believe everything they see and hear. Let the court decide how and what really happened. As for nurses , they are there for people from birth to death and every phase in between. Underpaid,over worked and abused by all. It is sad that they are not recognized or treated with the respect they deserved. Time for nurses to unite and fight for nurse patient ratio’s. It is the only solution!

    1. m says:

      I must add I truly feel sorry for the patient.Like I said no one really knows what happened or hear the nurses side of the story that are being accused of this unfortunate incident.

    2. KAB says:

      This is a specialty unit- patient to nurse ratios are not high. Anway, three nurses were in the station with the ventilator alarm going off , a clear signal to ACT. Any paperwork they may have been doing at the desk should have come second to a man not breathing. If you are a nurse, you should know that.

  4. Multi Neglect says:

    I moved my loved one out of this home a few months ago. I was a witness to the lack of care by the aids, nursing care and staff.
    A few years ago our new NYS Governor & then AG arrested eight of the staff & fired the director. Google this case
    Nothing has changed at this home. DO NOT put your parents in this Home that gives multi-neglect.

  5. mfc says:

    A nurses job is a tough one, especially when patient to nurse ratio is high. However, the video clearly shows three nurses doing nothing when this man was in need of help. I can’t imagine what this poor man who cannot move from his neck down must of been going through gasping for air for 24 minutes while those who were supposed to take care of him ignored his alarms. What a disgrace!!!!

    1. BRC says:

      I AGREE. THIS IS DISGUSTING AND THE VIDEO CLEARLY SHOWS THE FAT NURSE SITING THERE USELES AND IGNORING THIS POOR MANS ALARM. THIS PLACE HAS SO MANY PROBLEMS AND ITS AMAZING MANAGERS ARENT FIRED! 24 MINUTES IS A LONGTIME TO TO NOT GET OFF YOUR BUTT AND LOOK INTO THAT POOR MANS ROOM AND HELP HIM GET AIR! IM A RN IN FLORIDA NAD WE DO NOT HAVE TIME TO SIT AND DO NOTHING. THERE ARE NO EXCUSES FOR IGNORING A VENT PATIENTS ALARM. THEY TOOK AWAY HIS ABILITY TO BE COGNITIVE, COPE, AND UNDERSTAND THE WORLD WE LIVE IN. HIS POOR WIFE IS LEFT TO TAKE CARE OF HIM. I HOPE THEY SUE THEM FOR MILLIONS OF DOLLARS!

  6. change says:

    “Oongah bongah!”

  7. kaylee says:

    This si terrible. Those nurses should be fired. Nurses have become very uncaring. My elderly grandfather was in the hospital for several days & we always had someone in the family by his side 24/7 when we saw how the nurses ignored the elderly patients. Nurses love to complain but they’ll never take the blame for doing something wrong.

    1. RN1979 says:

      Which hospital was your grandfather at? I’ve been a nurse in this country for a long time…tell me the hospital’s name and I will tell you if it’s really the nurses’ fault. You just said and I quote that “Nurses have become uncaring” and “Nurses love to complain but will never take the blame for doing something wrong”…Let’s prove that here shall we.

  8. RN1979 says:

    Always put one’s self in a nurse’s shoe! There are relatives who don’t even care at all for the patients and come in a hospital demanding all sorts of impossible attention. On a regular 12-hour shift, a nurse makes more than a thousand steps coming in and out of pt.’s room; it is not a job where you can just sit and face your computer. Nurses get yelled at by patients; nurses are their to clean a patient when they soiled their beds. The people of New York should be fighting for “SAFE STAFFING RATIOS”…the state of California was able to ensure that to the public. FYI: If one ever consider “SUING” people in the medical field…think about your poor nurse who was their w/ you for a whole 12-hour shift at your beck and call; unlike the MD who just popped in your door for less than 5 mins. to say Hi…or the actual Hospital that you were confined in and that claims to be the best among the best…They’re the ones that has the big bucks and can actually protect themselves from such lawsuit unlike your poor nurse who can barely hire a lawyer to protect herself. People, there’s corporate greed everywhere and not just found at Wall Street.

    1. Disillusioned says:

      Dear POOR nurse- As a family member I am appalled at your response. It is clear that you have no insight into caring for a quadraplegic. If you can not handle the responsibility of caring for extremely ill patients get the hell out of this field. There is no room for neglect or incompetence when dealing with somebody’s life. It was clear in the video the nurse sat on her butt and did NOTHING while the alarm was ringing . If you accept the responsibility of being a nurse There is no room for NEGLECT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. nyRN says:

    Everyone’s quick to blame the nurses! It’s always the nurse’s fault…first of all, they should check the staffing grid and if it was ever consistent w/ the unit’s or floor’s acuity protocol. A lot of the hospitals and nursing facilities are cutting back on staffing that consequently places patients at risk for injury. In other words, there’s such a thing as “unsafe staffing”. A nurse can only take care of so much; there are NO super nurses in this world. But the facilities wants ordinary nurses to do such at a very dangerous price of short staffing. I bet this facility involve will grill the nurse and put all the blame on her; how can an ordinary nurse pay the damages to the family? Nurses aren’t even paid enough for the kind of caring they give in all types of situation…and yes, it’s always the nurses’ fault! Sad how this story portrayed such unfair and bias scenario.

    1. DanTe says:

      Much as I understand the problem with staffing shortages, especially with all the facilities cutting back due to Obama Care, I have seen a lot of U.S. trained nurses. I would say R.N. stands for Real Nincompoop for most of them. The twits don’t even know how to start an IV when they graduate. Absolutely no real world training.

      1. RN1979 says:

        Again, who to blame??? Think about yourself; Nursing students here cannot train on live human beings because of patients not wanting to be touched by students; HELLO…surgeons don’t become surgeons by cutting on plastic dummies! Do you think your doctor if you have one just became a doctor magically??? Nor can you learn how to drive w/o using a car to learn on! But again, I’m glad I wasn’t trained in your beloved LITIGIOUS COUNTRY…I pitty nursing students in this country who actually don’t see actual patients. Thank yourself for that. Again, why don’t they train on animals??? OHH, because there’s animal friggin rights here as well in this beloved country of yours. WHO’s to blame now????

    2. jrsygirl78 says:

      You are obviously a nurse in the video! The video cant be “bias” because its a recording of what was going on when the mans alarm was going off and he was suffering trying to get air- a fact! How sad! The facility is to blame for not having a reliable system in place for alarms and those nurses, including you, should ALL be fired and loose your nursing licenses because of the obvious unreliability shown at the utmost time of need! There are no excuses for this and be grateful Im not on the jury! MY prayers go out to this poor family and his sweet understanding wife. Good thing his family took him home, “nurse cratchit”!

    3. Disillusioned says:

      Obviosly you did not see the video of a nurse sitting there socializing while a quadrapeligic could not breath.

  10. kay says:

    Cut your leg’s off, sew your eye shut, pull your teeth, over medicate you-then wait for you to die! I’m being a bit pessimistic! but hey after 15 mo. in VA hosp. you see and hear alot!

  11. kay says:

    I came out of a 16 hr. brain surgery, when i was placed in recovery after 4 days of ICU. 45 min. went by, before i was found on bathroom floor. had to have 2nd surgery to repair fracture in my skull. Doctors explained it off for my coughing to hard, that’s’ the VA!

    1. DanTe says:

      You can “walk” in an INTENSIVE Care Unit?????

      Here’s a hint: if you have to LIE to make your point, you have NO point.

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