A Natchitoches Parish jury found The Natchitoches Regional Medial Center dba The Courtyard of Natchitoches liable for the wrongful death of former Natchitoches Parish Tax Assessor Mrs. Fern Perot. The Courtyard of Natchitoches is operated by the Natchitoches Regional Medical Center. The jury awarded Mrs. Perot’s family $1.685 million in damages.
The jury awarded $970,000.00 for the pain and suffering sustained by Mrs. Perot prior to her death and approximately $115,000.00 in medical bills. The jury also awarded $200,000 to each of her three sons for the loss of their mother.
On March 15, 2016 Mrs. Perot sustained a broken hip while a resident at the Courtyard. She passed away a little more than 2 months later.
The Courtyard initially denied knowing how Mrs. Perot suffered her injury. However, video evidence was found showing that she had fallen because an employee of the nursing home had improperly removed her wheelchair from her room in violation of her doctor’s order. The same employee found Mrs. Perot on the floor but failed to notify her doctor or alert the nursing staff. Mrs. Fern was put back into her bed where she stayed for almost 15 hours until a nurse discovered her injury, and she was transferred to the hospital. Mrs. Fern underwent hip surgery but eventually passed away on May 23, 2016. The jury found that her death was caused in part by her broken hip.
The jury found The Courtyard 100% at fault for causing Mrs. Perot’s death, rejecting The Courtyard’s argument that Mrs. Perot was at fault for causing her own death.
The Perot Family was represented by the Dunahoe Law Firm. The Natchitoches Parish Journal reached out to the Dunahoe Law Firm for comment on the jury’s verdict and received the following statement:
“The Perot Family does not wish to discuss the facts of the case. The jury’s verdict speaks for itself. Our clients would like to thank the Judge and her staff for their extremely hard work ensuring all parties received a fair trial.
The Perot’s would especially like to thank the members of the jury for providing justice to their mother. Mrs. Fern Perot lived and served in our community for almost her entire life, raising 4 children and filling the lives of numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren with love.
Just as important to the Perot Family, the 12 members of the jury sent a clear statement that the senior citizens of this parish must be treated with dignity and respect by nursing homes that operate in our community. The Perot Family hopes the jury’s verdict will result in better care for senior citizens who reside in nursing homes in our parish. Maybe something good can come from the suffering Mrs. Fern endured if the jury’s verdict prevents someone else’s parent or grandparent from being mistreated. That would be a fitting tribute to Mrs. Fern.”
The Natchitoches Parish Journal did contact one of the Jurors, Laura Thomas, and she provided the following statement:
“This past week I served jury duty. I often hear people grumble and complain about jury duty and during jury selection there were a lot of people complaining and trying to get out of it. Here’s the thing, our justice system, both criminal and civil, no matter how flawed is better than in most other countries and a jury of your peers is a huge factor in that.
I was honored to serve with the 11 other jurors and 2 alternates. We took our duty seriously and I sincerely hope that our verdict gave some measure of comfort to those involved. Our verdict couldn’t undo what was done and could never ease their pain and suffering but it is my sincerest hope that as a result no other families will have to experience this type of treatment.”
The Natchitoches Parish Journal did reach out to Kirk Soileau, CEO of NRMC, but received no response by the time of publication.