Jury finds Pueblo nursing home's negligence led to patient's death

Jury finds Pueblo nursing home negligent

PUEBLO, Colo. - A jury says a nursing home's negligence caused a Pueblo woman to die.

Janet Smith, 88, was taken to Belmont Lodge Health Care Center to recover in May 2011 after breaking her ankles. Her daughter, Margaret Smith, says the way her mother was treated has haunted her. On Monday, a jury ordered the nursing home to pay $3.7 million- $3.5 million for punitive damages and $200,000 to Margaret Smith for emotional distress.

Margaret Smith says her mom's five-day stay at the nursing home was supposed to be temporary. "I had every reason to believe my mother was coming home," she said.

Janet Smith was brought to Belmont Lodge on a catheter, but Margaret Smith says employees didn't properly monitor it. Janet Smith soon developed a significant urinary tract infection that went into her bloodstream and eventually killed her.

A document from Belmont Lodge shows a nurse checked in on Janet Smith shortly after 6 a.m. on May 6. The next check-in wasn't recorded until almost 22 hours later.

"I would just like them to change their ways. Have the CNAs go in when they're supposed to every couple of hours, monitor the urine when someone has a catheter and keep record of it. It's very easy," said Jordan Levine, Margaret Smith's attorney.

Margaret Smith says employees at the nursing home falsified documents, saying they gave her mother care she never received. Now, she wants people to avoid going to the nursing home that her mother worked at 30 years ago.

"I would want people to know that there are still people there that I don't know that they're getting the treatment they need and it has haunted me for two years," Margaret Smith said.

In a statement from the nursing home, a spokesperson, Annaliese Impink, said, "Over the next several weeks we will review our options and make a decision regarding whether to appeal part, or all of the findings and the damages."

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