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    RUTH WAITES was 83 years old when she began living at the Borger Nursing Center, in Borger, Texas, in 1993. At the time, said plaintiffs counsel David T. Marks, Ms. Waites was mentally alert, but largely unable to walk and a diabetic. While at the Borger home, he said, Ms. Waites became severely dehydrated and was hospitalized. After she returned to the center, she developed pressure sores and was hospitalized again. These bed sores were so severe, he said, that hospital staff “cut out hunks of rotten tissue,” from her body. Ms. Waites died Oct. 29, 1994; the cause of death, Mr. Marks said, was “infected pressure sores.”
    Her estate sued Beverly Enterprises Texas Inc., which owned and operated the Borger Center and its parent, Beverly Enterprises Inc., charging negligence, gross negligence and fraud. Ms. Waites’ dehydration “was caused by a failure to provide water,” Mr. Marks said, which in turn was caused by lack of available nursing home staff. During the weeks before she died, Mr. Marks said, there was an “epidemic” of medical problems in the center, with 18 patients sent to the hospital. “There was an avalanche of complaints,” he said, but the center did not cut back on patients and instead offered a bounty to its staff to bring in more.

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