Man says care facility to blame for wife's death

By Chris Dickerson | Jul 5, 2006

CHARLESTON – A Kanawha County man blames a South Charleston care facility for his wife's death after she was entrapped in her bed, entered a coma and later died.

Paul DeFuria filed his lawsuit individually and as personal representative of Marie DeFuria on June 28 in Kanawha Circuit Court against Glenmark LLC dba Valley Center and Genesis Eldercare Network LLC.

Marie DeFuria was admitted to Valley Center in South Charleston on Oct. 5, 2004, for rehabilitation related to a fall and fracture. The complaint says she was expected to complete her rehabilitation and return home thereafter.

"On Nov. 11, 2004, Marie DeFuria was found lying in bed unresponsive, with no heart rate and no breath sounds noted," he says in the suit. "Marie DeFuria became entrapped between her mattress and bedrail and suffered anoxic encephalopathy causing her to become semi-comatose which caused her death."

Paul DeFuria, who is being represented by attorney William M. Tiano, says the defendants and its employees were negligent on many levels. He says the center violated his late wife's applicable standard of care by failing to ensure she was free from physical restraint. He also says the nurses were negligent, and he says management was to blame for negligent hiring and retention, negligent and intentional understaffing and negligent failure to train.

Because he says the actions were willful, wanton and intentional, DeFuria also seeks punitive damages.

He says the defendants are liable for medical expenses, pain and suffering, impairment of his capacity to enjoy life, mental anguish and his loss of consortium, society, comfort and support of Marie. He says he has suffered sorrow, mental anguish and solace, including society, companionship, comfort, services, protection, care, assistance, guidance, kindly offices and advice as well as the loss of income, loss of services, protection, care and assistance provided by his late wife. He also says he has had expenses for the care, treatment, hospitalization of his wife resulting in her death as well as funeral expenses and other damages allowed by state law.

DeFuria seeks compensatory damages for the injuries to his late wife as well as a claim for wrongful death, pre- and post-judgment interest, court costs, attorney fees and other relief.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Duke Bloom.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 06-C-1268

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