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Maplewood Manor sued over patient death

Staff allegedly gave mistaken insulin shot

Saturday, March 30, 2013
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— Saratoga County and its Maplewood Manor nursing home are facing a lawsuit over the death of a resident in early 2012.

The case, filed earlier this month in state Supreme Court, alleges that Janice Woodley of Saratoga Springs, who had lived at Maplewood Manor for more than a year, was mistakenly given a dose of insulin on Jan. 5, 2012. The insulin was intended for her roommate, the suit alleges.

Woodley died of multiple complications two weeks later at Saratoga Hospital.

“It was a rapid decline. She never got better,” said Jean Marie Westlake of Syracuse, the attorney representing her widower, Paul, and her estate.

Woodley, who was 83 and a mother of four, had lived at Maplewood Manor since early November 2010. Her husband, whom she had married in 1949, visited every day, Westlake said.

On the day of the alleged incident, Woodley was being moved to the Wesley Community nursing home in Saratoga Springs to be closer to her husband. Westlake said admitting staff at Wesley realized something was seriously wrong with her, and transferred her to Saratoga Hospital. Woodley was admitted to the hospital three separate times before her death on Jan. 21, 2012, having suffered various complications from the insulin overdose, court papers allege.

Insulin is used to control blood sugar levels in diabetics, but Woodley was not diabetic, Westlake said.

The incident “resulted in her untimely and unnecessary death after many days of pain and suffering and mental anguish,” the lawsuit alleges. It blames her death on “negligence” by Maplewood staff.

No specific damages are requested in the court papers. A notice of claim preserving the family’s right to sue was filed against the county last summer.

County Attorney Stephen Dorsey said the lawsuit is being defended, and the estate has had negotiations with the county’s medical liability insurance carrier about a settlement. Westlake confirmed there have been talks with an insurance company lawyer, and also said she hopes there is an out-of-court settlement.

“We would hope there is some resolution for the sake of Mr. Woodley’s closure,” she said.

The case isn’t the first recent death to raise questions about care at Maplewood Manor. An 85-year-old resident, Carlton Decker, was able to get out of a memory-care unit and enter an outside courtyard without being detected late on the night of Dec. 21, 2012. He may have been outside as long as two hours, and subsequently died of a heart attack.

The death was investigated by police, but no charges were brought.

The county is in the process of seeking a private buyer for the 277-bed nursing home, which as a publicly owned nursing home has lost millions of dollars every year for the last decade.

 
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