A federal jury awarded $1.75 million to a woman who said her sister lost her dignity in the last days of her life because of unhygienic conditions and improper care at a Charleston nursing home.
Tammy Rectenwald, 44, lived at Meadowbrook Acres on Greenbrier Street from March 1999 until October 2003.
On Oct. 8, 2003, she had chest congestion and other signs of pneumonia, but nursing home staff did not call her family or an ambulance. When the nursing home called Taylor 12 hours later, she insisted that Rectenwald be sent to the hospital.
Rectenwald died a week later at Saint Francis Hospital, where doctors found evidence that she had been neglected, such as an infected catheter site and dirty nails and skin.
Taylor sued Harrell Memorial Nursing Home Inc., which owns the nursing home, and Nursing Care Management of America Inc., which manages it. Both companies are based in Ohio. The jury found on April 20 the company failed to provide adequate care for Rectenwald.
The award is West Virginia’s second-highest nursing home verdict. “The only way to punish a facility and make them clean up their act is financially,” he said.