Ostrom v. Manorcare Health Servs., 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4106 (D. Mich. 2007)

Plaintiff, an Alzheimer’s patient, exited the nursing home on March 22, 2004 through an unlocked door. He was chased by staff as he went into a courtyard. In the courtyard, he tripped over a light post and suffered injury. He was found unresponsive and bleeding from the head. At the hospital he was diagnosed with a severe head injury, was placed on a feeding tube and later returned to a nursing home where he remained without improvement. Plaintiff’s sued for ordinary negligence. He alleged a failure to provide him with the proper standard of care by failing to perform a risk assessment for falls, wandering and elopement, failing to implement a detailed plan of care, and failing to provide the facilities, services and staff to keep him safe. Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that the claims sounded in malpractice and that Plaintiff failed to file an affidavit of merit. The Court found that Plaintiff’s late-filed claim alleging inadequate staffing would involve medical judgment, but that general risks, such as not securing the courtyard and making it safe would not. The fact that Plaintiff had Alzheimer’s does not by itself transform a negligence case into a malpractice case.

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