Saturday, June 25, 2022

Family sues Williamsburg Landing in mother’s fall-related death at nursing home

The family of a woman who died after a fall at a Williamsburg nursing home is now suing the home for over $2 million. (File photo/WYDaily)
The family of a woman who died after a fall at a Williamsburg nursing home is now suing the home for more than $2 million. (File photo/WYDaily)

The family of a woman who died after a fall at a Williamsburg nursing home is now suing the home for more than $2 million.

Lee Cleveland Scruggs, the executor of the estate of Fannye Doris Holden Scruggs Rorer, is suing Williamsburg Landing in a medical malpractice lawsuit, stating the home was, at times, negligent in their care of Rorer.

Court documents allege Rorer fell “at the hands of” Williamsburg Landing staff on April 15, 2016, while being transferred from her bed into a hoyer lift. The lift is used for mostly or completely immobile patients.

Rorer died eight days after her fall.

“At all pertinent times, Fannye was a helpless, mentally compromised, one-eyed amputee with inter alia limited communication ability, who was totally dependent on defendant… for her basic activities of daily living … and everything else,” according to a civil complaint filed in the Williamsburg-James City County Circuit Court.

Scruggs is suing Williamsburg Landing for $2.15 million with an additional $350,000 in damages.

On Thursday, both the plaintiffs and Williamsburg Landing are scheduled to appear in court for a motion made by the plaintiffs to gain access to Rorer’s medical records.

While Williamsburg Landing stated in court records it already provided Rorer’s medical file to her family, the motion requests additional documentation.

Williamsburg Landing spokeswoman Kathy Kammer said the nursing home had not yet been formally served with the complaint, and therefore has not had the opportunity to respond to the allegations.

According to court documents, Rorer was a resident patient at Woodhaven Hall at Williamsburg Landing from April 2011 to April 23, 2016, when she died.

In those five years, the family paid about $600,000 for her care, the complaint said.

The complaint cites multiple surveys completed by the Virginia Department of Health in 2015 and 2016 which cited the nursing home for safety violations, including not immediately notifying a doctor when a patient fell, not developing an “appropriate” care plan for another patient, and more.

The complaint alleges Williamsburg Landing failed to correct the deficiencies before Rorer’s fall on April 15, 2016.

The complaint states Rorer was injured at least six times during transfers using a hoyer lift in the months leading up to her fall and death.

Rorer was dropped around 5:40 a.m. April 15, 2016, while being transferred out of her bed by a single nursing assistant. Employees later told Rorer’s family the transfer should have been made by two people, the complaint states.

X-rays after the fall showed Rorer had multiple compression fractures on her lumbar spine.

In the eight days following her fall, Scruggs alleges the nursing home did not provide adequate pain medication and management to Rorer. The complaint also states Rorer should have been transferred to a local hospital but was kept at Woodhaven Hall instead.

A death certificate lists the accidental fall, alzheimer’s and osteoporosis as causes of death.

When asked for comment on the lawsuit, Williamsburg Landing responded with the following statement:

“Williamsburg Landing expresses its deepest sympathy to the family of the late Fannye Doris Holden Scruggs Rorer. Mrs. Rorer was a 63-year resident of Williamsburg and was a resident of Williamsburg Landing for many years. Mrs. Rorer passed away on April 23, 2016 at the age of 87. Williamsburg Landing has been informed of a lawsuit filed against us related to Mrs. Rorer’s care. As Williamsburg Landing has not been served with the Complaint, we have not had an opportunity to formally respond. If and when Williamsburg Landing is served with the Complaint, we will respond in a measured and appropriate manner through the legal process. 

Until we can do so and out of respect for the family and the family’s privacy, Williamsburg Landing is not able to comment on particulars of this lawsuit. With that said, nothing is more important to Williamsburg Landing than the health and safety of our residents. These remain Williamsburg Landing’s top priorities. One of the reasons for our high quality is that we thoroughly review concerns about any resident’s medical care. this process will continue with this matter and will ensure that Williamsburg Landing can continue to provide the highest quality care to all of its residents.”

Update 2 p.m. May 3: A court appearance by both parties Thursday morning was continued after circuit court Judge Michael McGinty said him ruling on the parties’ motions would be a conflict of interest. McGinty said he knows the Scruggs family members and would not feel comfortable making rulings in the case. The case will likely be heard early next week, although a date is not set in stone.


Fearing can be reached at sarah.f@localvoicemedia.com.

Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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