Several media outlets have discussed the recent decision of an arbitrator in Massachusetts to dismiss the wrongful death case against Brandon Woods Nursing Home. Elizabeth W. Barrow was strangled to death in 2009 while a patient there. Her family filed a wrongful death suit claiming the nursing home and staff didn’t do enough to protect Barrow. In the hours leading up to his mother’s death, Barrow’s unstable and violent roommate had several violent episodes. The staff here left her in the room with his mother and never disclosed there was a problem.
For some unknown reason, the arbitrator decided there was no negligence on behalf of the nursing home. The state’s medical examiner’s office declared the death to be a homicide by manual strangulation, following an autopsy. A nursing assistant found Barrow dead in her bed with a plastic bag over her head.
This case is a great example of why the nursing home industry pushes mandatory arbitration in their admission paperwork. They do not want a jury of their peers deciding these issues when some biased arbitrator can throw the case out without any recourse or appeal.
Where is the justice?