Thecase of set a good precedence and a warning to theelderly care facilities that fail to take adequate measures to ensurethe safety of their clients. This case involved an elderly woman,Wyvonne Fuqua, who died of pressure ulcers that turning chronic afterproviders in nursing home failed to inform the family in time or evenrefer the client to a facility with specialized care providers.However, critics have been raised on whether the damages awarded tothe complainants were adequate or reasonable.
Reasonabilityof the damages
Basedon the seriousness of the allegations, it can be concluded that thecompensatory damage of $ 2.7 million reasonable while the punitive $310 million was unreasonable. This is because studies have shown thatnursing homes in the U.S. make average revenue of $ 22.13 millionannually (Statista, 2015). This means that the nursing home is ableto pay the compensatory damages, but the punitive damages are beyondits financial capacity and it might lead to its closure. The closureof the facility as a result of its inability to pay the punitivedamages will lead to the loss of jobs for employees and deny thesociety a facility where they take their seniors.
Basisfor awarding punitive damages
Unlikethe compensatory damage that is awarded to help the victim becomewhole again, a punitive damage is deterrent in nature (Singh, 2010).Therefore, punitive damages were issued on the grounds that Fuqua’sdeath resulted from human errors (commissions or omissions) thatcould be prevented in the future. This implies that the punitivedamages would serve as a warning, not only to the nursing home, butalso other health care facilities.
Althoughliving environments play a key role in enhancing the well-being ofolder adults, they should be punished when they go wrong.Compensatory damages may relief victims of negligence committed bynursing homes while punitive damages will deter negligence in thefuture. However, damages should be reasonable in order to ensure thatthey do not affect other parties negatively.
Singh,A. (2010). Effectivemanagement of long-term care facilities (2nded.).Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
Statista(2015). Leading U.S. states I average nursing home revenue in 2013and net income. Statista.Retrieved October 28, 2015, fromhttp://www.statista.com/statistics/323229/average-nursing-home-revenue-in-top-and-bottom-three-states/