A Lake Worth nursing home has been denied a new trial after it was hit with a jury verdict of nearly $1.8 million for a former patient’s wrongful death. This was one of the largest trial verdicts ever handed down in a wrongful death lawsuit against a Florida nursing home.

We first wrote about this case in December, shortly after the record-breaking verdict was given.

The lawsuit was filed by relatives of 72-year-old George Dahmer, better known as professional wrestler Chief White Owl from the 1950s to the 1980s. Dahmer suffered from end-stage dementia, and was admitted to Lake Worth Manor nursing home in 2008. He died several months later.

In the lawsuit, his family alleged that neglect and inadequate care at the facility caused his death.

The Palm Beach Post reports that Lake Worth Enterprises, which has since changed Lake Worth Manor’s name to Oasis, states that Dahmer was suffering from numerous diseases, and that he had been treated at four different facilities by the time he died.

After a weeklong trial in November, the case ended with a jury ordering the facility to pay $1,775,000 to Dahmer’s family, leaving company officials vowing to appeal. They filed a motion for a new trial with Circuit Judge Robin Rosenberg, but Rosenberg rejected the petition late last month.

A spokesperson for the company stated that they would continue to consider all legal avenues.

Meanwhile, Dahmer’s family, began an online petition at www.chiefwhiteowlwon.com that aimed to forge nursing home reform in the state—a goal that Patricia, Dahmer’s widow, made her chief aim. Debbie, Dahmer’s daughter, reported that the petition has already received almost 2,000 signatures.

Evidence at trial showed that Mr. Dahmer declined rapidly after entering Lake Worth Manor. In a span of two months, he lost 32 pounds, as well as the ability to walk or talk.

His family testified that neglect by the facility’s staff caused Mr. Dahmer to suffer painful ulcers that became infected and ultimately led to his death. They also complained they were never told about the bedsores, a fall from a wheelchair, the loss of his dentures, and other problems.

Signs of possible Florida nursing home neglect and abuse might include visible wounds, bedsores, sudden weight gain or loss, missing personal items, use of physical restraints, poor hygiene, unusual skin coloring, and evasive or unresponsive nursing home staff.

Learn more about elder care abuse in Florida – and what to do if you suspect a loved one has been mistreated – by clicking here.


The Palm Beach Post