Care Center sued for death of former resident
June 12, 2008 · Updated 10:23 AM
"A Port Orchard man and his daughter have filed suit against the Port Orchard Care Center for the 1997 death of their wife and mother. Ruth Smith died after two falling accidents they say stemmed from negligence in the Alzheimer's ward of the facility.Attorneys representing the Port Orchard Care Center filed response papers in Kitsap County Superior Court May 14 admitting the falls occurred, but denying they were the result of negligence or elder abuse on the part of care center staff. Attorneys for the care center also denied the facility is responsible for Smith's death. According to the response, Defendants further admit they exercised reasonable care in taking precautions to prevent Ms. Smith from attempting to get out of bed without assistance.According to the complaint filed by attorneys for the Smith family, Ruth Smith was admitted to the Port Orchard Care Center Dec. 17, 1997. At 77, she had Alzheimer's disease, tardive dyskinesia and Sjogren syndrome.On Dec. 18, 1997, she was found on the floor near her roommate's bed, according to the complaint. She had a three-inch cut on her forehead, one tooth was knocked out and others were injured. The complaint alleged there was no bed monitor to alert staff if Smith got up unattended.On Dec. 24, 1997, she again fell while walking with a walker, according to the complaint. This time, she sustained a cut on the chin, substantial bruising on the face and the loss of a second tooth.Smith was transported to Harborview Medical Center for treatment Dec. 25, 1997. According to the complaint, a subsequent examination determined five teeth were rendered unusable for eating. Attorneys for the family say Ruth's Feb. 20, 1998 death was ultimately the result of the falls. It is alleged the abuse and neglect she suffered while living at Port Orchard Care Center was the direct and proximate cause of her death, according to the complaint.The family is seeking compensation for Ruth Smith's hospitalization and medical expenses as well as expenses associated with her death; damages, including mental distress and anguish, for her husband, Arthur Smith and compensation for the pain and suffering she might have endured.While attorneys have filed the complaint and response in Kitsap County Superior Court, a trial date has not yet been set. "