CHEYENNE – A personal injury lawsuit filed recently in the U.S. District Court of Wyoming says the former Kindred Transitional Care Rehabilitation nursing home in Cheyenne negligently monitored and failed to properly care for a patient who stayed there in 2014.
The lawsuit was filed in July by Dianna Bratberg, the appointed personal representative of Vivian R. Olson’s estate.
It already is in alternative dispute resolution because Bratberg, as Olson’s legal representative, signed an Alternative Dispute Resolution Agreement in March 2014 when Olson entered the facility.
Both parties have to file a status report by early November.
The lawsuit says Kindred, as part of a “continuing pattern of misconduct,” failed to perform a proper post-fall injury assessment and develop a care plan to address Olson’s high fall risk.
Olson was injured as a result, and Bratberg is seeking compensation for those injuries – specifically fractures to Olson’s right ankle, permanent limited mobility, dehydration and mental and emotional distress.
The nursing home facility, located in east Cheyenne in the 3100 block of Boxelder Drive, changed hands in October 2015 and is now Granite Wellness and Rehabilitation, owned by a company called EmpRes.
Bratberg’s lawsuit also names Kindred’s parent companies as defendants.
They are: Kindred Nursing Centers West LLC, Kindred Rehab Services Inc. and Kindred Healthcare Operating Inc., all Delaware companies that operate out of Kentucky.
Olson “was injured and damaged as a result of the misconduct, fraud and misrepresentation of defendants Kindred Healthcare Operating Inc. and Kindred Nursing Centers West,” the suit says, describing the alleged misconduct as “grossly negligent, flagrant, willful, wanton, reckless and/or intentional.”
The defendants responded to the lawsuit by filing a motion to put the complaint on hold pending the outcome of out-of-court settlement talks.
The motion, filed earlier this month, says that by signing the Alternative Dispute Resolution Agreement when Olson began her stay at Kindred, Bratberg agreed to submit any and all legal disputes first to mediation and, if unsuccessful, binding arbitration.
The defendants filed the same response to the malpractice claim Bratberg filed with the Wyoming Medical Review Panel in March of this year.
In that claim, Bratberg said Olson fell three days after her admission to Kindred in March 2014 and was found on the floor next to her bed.
She was helped back into bed, and an assessment allegedly was performed by a licensed practical nurse, rather than a registered nurse as required, the claim continues.
It says no injury was found, but that after Olson was helped to the bathroom and returned to bed, a certified nursing assistant noticed her ankle was externally rotated out.
Olson was taken to Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, where doctors determined she had three broken bones in her ankle.
In its decision filed in late June, the panel dismissed the claim because of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Agreement and gave Bratberg authorization to pursue her claim in the proper court.
Bratberg’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Her lawsuit says that in addition to the fall, Olson suffered from dehydration, kidney problems and repeated urinary tract infections during her stay at Kindred.
The lawsuit says Kindred had the duty to protect Olson from being injured; monitor and accurately record her condition and notify her doctor and family members of any changes; and transfer her to an acute care facility in a timely manner if needed.
Those duties were breached, the suit says, “with knowledge and forethought and purpose, for the sake of enhancing (Kindred’s) corporate profits … and with the further objective of concealing its own wrongdoing.”
This is not the first personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit to be filed against Kindred here.
Dana L. Cardinal, who has quadriplegia, filed a federal lawsuit in April 2015 saying she suffered severe bedsores, urinary tract infections, malnourishment and more during her stay there from October to November 2012 and December 2012 to February 2013.
That complaint was ordered into arbitration in late 2015.
A separate lawsuit filed against Kindred four months before Cardinal’s also was ordered into arbitration in 2015.
Debra K. Moberg filed a complaint in December 2014 on behalf of her mother, Harriett R. Moberg, saying that Harriett Moberg was admitted to CRMC because of a fall less than a month after becoming a resident at Kindred in July 2012, and died that October.