Law Office of Tom Wagstaff Jr. Settles Fatal Nursing Home Elopement Case for $2M

Landmark Settlement

The Law Office of Tom Wagstaff Jr. has secured a $2-million policy limit settlement for the family of a 74-year-old Arkansas woman with Alzheimer’s who passed away after being allowed to wander off the premises unattended only hours after she first arrived. An investigation found that when the woman, the late Barbara Doyle, exited the nursing home by herself through a back door, an alarm sounded, which was subsequently discounted by the staff of Brookfield Assisted Living and Memory Care in Bella Vista, Arkansas. The $2-million policy limit settlement comes as a relief to our clients, who can use the case result of their elopement lawsuit to try to find closure and a way to move forward.

Details of the Fatal Elopement Case

Barbara Doyle lived with disorientation and short-term memory loss caused by her Alzheimer’s. When her husband planned to take a short trip to Ohio for the communions of two of their grandchildren, they decided it would be safest to admit Barbara to Brookfield Assisted Living for just three days, so she could have constant supervision and reminders. The facility was notified of her special needs related to her Alzheimer’s symptoms and her wandering/elopement risks before she was admitted to the assisted living center at approximately 11:45 AM on August 12, 2021.

Only three hours after Barbara arrived, she was left unattended by staff. Barbara used an exit door at the back of the facility to leave, which sounded an alarm. A Brookfield employee would later admit to seeing Barbara leave after the alarm went off, but instead of trying to redirect her, the employee allowed Barbara to leave, shut off the alarm, locked the door so re-entry was not possible, and told no one about what she had seen.

When it eventually became clear that Barbara was missing, a Silver Alert was issued and a search for her was conducted, but it was already too late. After 13 days, her remains were found less than a mile away in a wooded region near the assisted living facility. An autopsy would conclude that she died of “environment heat stress.”

Heartbroken, Barbara’s family decided legal action should be used to hold the nursing home liable for its egregious negligence. A lawsuit could penalize the nursing home and potentially convince it to improve its safety standards, so such a tragic fatal elopement incident would never happen there again. The family reached out to our nursing home abuse lawyers at the Law Office of Tom Wagstaff Jr.

$2-Million Policy Limit Settlement Secured by Law Office of Tom Wagstaff Jr.

Our investigation would help uncover key details of the incident, such as how a staff member saw Barbara leave yet did nothing and how staff were not informed by the management team that Barbara was even a resident. After some difficult legal back-and-forth, we are proud to have reached a $2-million policy limit settlement agreement without the need for stretching out the case in litigation that would have only added to the stresses of Barbara’s family.

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If you want to know more about this case, you can click hereto view an article from the Arkansas Timesabout the lawsuit when it was first filed. If you need help handling a nursing home abuse claim or elopement lawsuit in Arkansas, Kansas, or Missouri, then please contact our firm onlineor dial (816) 597-4556 at your first opportunity. Thank you.

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