Recently, Lois Forsberg Moscatello filed a wrongful death suit against Magen Carmony and the Polk County School Board. The case stems from the fact that Moscatello’s mother, Hilda, was a nursing home patient who died after a slip and fall accident in her bathroom while supervised by a Polk County student. The lawsuit alleges that while in at the Highlands Lake Center Nursing Home, the plaintiff’s mother was being supervised by a health science education student from the Traviss Career Center in Lakeland. The student allowed the patient to use the bathroom with no supervision and this led to a fall that apparently later led to the patient’s death. The lawsuit claims that the student should have known or should have been instructed that leaving the patient alone in the bathroom was dangerous.
The lawsuit alleges that the Polk County School Board did not properly train the student, did not provide enough staff help for the student, and did not tell the nursing home that the student may not have had the right training for the tasks she was required to perform in the home. The lawsuit alleges that all these factors signify negligence on the part of the school board.
The case has already polarized the community. The Polk County School Board claims that its students are much needed in professions and receive the training and help they need to do their jobs safely and well. Obviously, the Moscatello family, bereft of a family member, feel differently.
No matter how one feels about the tragedy, the fact is that tragedies such as this do occur. Slip and fall accidents and wrongful death suits are presented before the courts every day and make up a significant part of many attorneys’ case loads. According to the Florida AgSafe Network Web site, there are a number of things that can be done to prevent such tragedies. For example, safety features such as no-slip surfaces can be applied to floors, bathtubs, and other areas in a home. Proper supervision of the elderly or ill can, of course, help prevent many accidents. All surfaces and potential slip hazards should be examined regularly and steps should be taken to keep all surfaces slip-resistant.