FEBRUARY 14, 2012 -- Kentucky -- A Jefferson Circuit Court jury on Monday awarded $8 million in damages to the estate of a retired surgeon whose legs were broken while he was in the care of Treyton Oak Towers in Louisville.
The verdict against the nonprofit nursing home was returned after a two-week trial before Judge Brian C. Edwards.
Attorneys William Garmer and Matt Minner said that Dr. David Griffin died less than two months after he was improperly transferred from a chair into his bed — and that Treyton Oak tried to cover up what happened.
“We got justice today and are thrilled for our clients and thrilled for the elderly citizens of Louisville,” Minner said in an interview.
Minner said after Grifffin’s legs were broken in the September 2008 incident, he was put back in bed “like it didn’t happen” and employees were ordered to change medical records and cover the incident up.
Because of a stroke, Griffin couldn’t tell anybody “about the agony he was in,” Minner said.
After being found with two broken bones on Sept. 24, 2008, he was treated at a hospital and later transferred to a different nursing home. He died Nov. 3.
Scott Whonsetler, who defended Treyton Oak Towers, said it would appeal.
“We are profoundly, profoundly disappointed that we were unable to convey to the jury how much we cared for this man,” he said in an interview.
Whonsetler also said “we categorically deny that there was any coverup whatsoever” and said no abuse or neglect was ever substantiated.
Whonsetler said Griffin had severe osteoporosis and doctors failed to inform nursing home employees of this diagnosis. Whonsetler said it is unknown exactly how Griffin’s legs were broken.
The verdict was returned after the jury deliberated for about two hours and included $2 million for pain and suffering, $1 million for violating the state nursing home statute and $5 million in punitive damages.
The plaintiffs claimed Griffin was transferred without a lift and by only one nursing assistant, in violation of the nursing home’s care plan, which required two assistants.
That was disputed by the nursing home. No one answered a phone call to the nursing home.
Griffin was in his mid-80s and had retired many years before he was injured, Garmer said.
He had been a patient in Treyton Oak Tower’s skilled residential facility.
Copyright © 2012 www.courier-journal.com. All rights reserved.