Published June 29, 2007
The verdict reached yesterday in Albuquerque includes $4 million in compensatory damages and $50 million in punitive damages over the 2004 death of 78-year-old Barbara Barber.
Lawyers say the verdict against ManorCare, an Ohio-based care provider, is the largest award of its kind in state history, reported KOB-TV in New Mexico.
The doctor who did the autopsy of the woman confirmed that Barber died of internal bleeding, and the family's attorneys claimed that not only did Barber bleed to death because ManorCare didn’t follow its own procedures, but after Barber’s death, the caretakers tried to cover the incident up.
“There was blood on the pillow, blood on the sheets and in her adult Depends, it was red through the outside,” said attorney Carl Bettinger. “And ManorCare cleaned it up, threw away all that evidence and didn’t report it to the Department of Health.”
"She was a wonderful mother, a wonderful person, and she did not deserve to die like that," Barber’s daughter, Laurie Keith, told the television station.
ManorCare released a statement today denying any negligence. Its attorney had no comment.
The company sold its three New Mexico facilities in 2005.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.