A 36-year-old, highly dependent brain injury patient suffered repeated neglect and abuse over the course of a one-year stay as a resident at Evergreen Rehabilitation Bremerton (Evergreen), a skilled nursing facility in Bremerton, Washington. Evergreen staff failed to monitor its patient’s meals and calorie intake as ordered by a physician, resulting in an 80-pound weight gain in just a few months. In addition, Evergreen staff failed to provide restorative therapy, nursing care, and proper bathing and hygiene care to its patient because Evergreen admittedly lacked adequate staffing. On a few occasions, Evergreen staff allowed its patient to sit in urine soaked clothes for long periods of time. Also, when the patient arrived at Evergreen, he suffered from a condition called polyphagia — i.e., a tendency to eat too fast and too much. Physician orders required Evergreen staff to provide one-on-one monitoring and cueing during meals because the patient had a tendency to eat too fast, take large bites of food, and not chew his food, creating a risk of vomiting and aspiration. Evergreen failed to monitor and cue as ordered, resulting in multiple episodes of vomiting. On one occasion, Evergreen staff rolled the patient off his bed and onto the floor, causing minor injuries.
Characterizing its abuse as nothing more than a few “scrapes, bruises and some missed baths”, Evergreen rejected any wrongdoing. The trier-of-fact disagreed and the court entered judgment against Evergreen.