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    Two nursing homes in Texas have recently agreed to pay a total of $9.5 million to settle separate wrongful death actions.

    Attorneys with The Marks Law Firm in Houston represented the families in both cases. Individually and as Representative of the Estate of Earl Dixon v. South Park Rehabilitation and Nursing Center et al., No. 00-278-B, settlement entered (Tex. Dist. Ct., Nueces County, Feb. 1, 2001); May, Individually and as Representative of the Estate of Kate May v. Diamond Care Inc. et al., No. 00-05-19720, settlement entered (Tex. Dist. Ct., Ward County, Jan. 3, 2001).
    A case involving Earl Dixon, an Alzheimer’s resident of South Park Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Corpus Christi, Texas., who died at 63 after allegedly suffering from a diabetic coma, pressure sores and malnutrition, settled for $6.97 million. Dixon’s family said the home’s chronic understaffing led to the negligent care.
    “The contention was made — as it frequently is — that Alzheimer’s patients don’t feel pain,” said Henry P. Giessel of The Marks Firm, who represented the plaintiffs, along with David T. Marks and Nirja S. Aiyer. “It’s not ‘open season’ on Alzheimer’s patients,” he said, even if they have a “lower level of consciousness.”
    A case against Monahans Senior Care Center stemming from the death of 86- year-old Kate May settled for $2.475million just weeks before a scheduled trial date of Jan. 22. A charge nurse at the home allegedly ignored signs that May was suffering from a heart attack and then failed to call an ambulance.
    “Even at age 86,” Giessel said, “life is valuable.”

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