NC Nursing Home Faced With Resident Injuries and Deaths | DC Metro Area Medical Malpractice Law Blog

By Catherine Bertram

Britthaven of Chapel Hill, a Chapel Hill, North Carolina nursing home, employed Angela Almore, R.N., a nurse who now faces second-degree murder and patient-abuse charges arising from her time at Britthaven.  Several patients under her care were injured, and one died, after  allegedly being administered morphine without a prescription.

At the same nursing home, Marian Orlowski, M.D. died of pneumonia after falling and breaking several bones while a resident at Britthaven.  His wife has taken action to hold Britthaven accountable for failing to use side-rails on Dr. Orlowski’s bed because Britthaven knew that he suffered from dementia and was a fall risk.  This was a predictable and preventable death.    Dr. Orlowski was nominated for a Nobel prize for developing a treatment for blood cancers.

Another resident broke both her thigh bones, and ultimately died, after it is alleged that a nursing assistant dropped the resident and then failed to tell supervisors about the fall.  The patient’s care plan called for a mechanical lift at all times.  It is reported that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services fined Britthaven over $400,000.  Britthaven’s corporate parent company owns approximately 43 nursing homes in North Carolina.

Nursing home injuries and cases involving neglect and abuse are unfortunately more common that we want to believe.   If you have questions or concerns about a loved one in a nursing home speak up and take action.  First and foremost, you want to make sure the resident is safe.  Doctors in all states have a duty to report if they suspect abuse or neglect, as do registered nurses and most other health care providers.  If you have concerns and those questions are not being taken seriously, you can call the state or county authorities or call the police.

About the author:

Catherine Bertram is board certified in civil trials and was recently nominated as a 2010 Super Lawyer for Washington, D.C.  Ms. Bertram has 20 years of trial experience and is unique in that she was formerly the Director of Risk Management for Georgetown University Hospital.  Ms. Bertram is a member of the bar for the U.S. Supreme Court.  She is a partner with the firm and lectures regularly to lawyers and health care providers, nationally and locally, regarding patient safety and other related issues. She has also recently published a chapter in a surgical textbook.   She can be reached by email at or by phone 202-822-1875 in her office in Washington, D.C.