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Case Brought By Estate Of Woman Who Died In Hawarden Nursing Home Continues In Arbitration

Orange City, Iowa — A lawsuit that was filed against a Hawarden nursing home and some of its providers that alleges that the death of one of their residents was the fault of the nursing home and its staff — is still active, but has gone to arbitration.

The estate of Peggy Peck filed the suit, which claims that on March 18th, 2019, Peck needed to use the bathroom and pressed her call light, which was on for over an hour, unanswered. It says that at that point she attempted to use the bathroom on her own, and sustained a fall, which allegedly fractured two of her vertebrae.

The suit alleges that she continued in pain, but rather than send her to the hospital, staff requested a narcotic pain medication that Dr. Dale Nystrom ordered verbally without evaluating Peck personally. Two weeks later, the suit alleges she was still in severe back pain, so she asked for a doctor, and it says that the request was ignored. The suit alleges that when Dr. Nystrom was advised of the continued pain, he ordered physical therapy, still without seeing Peck.

The suit says that the family was made aware of Peck’s declining condition over a month after the fall. They came to the facility and requested that she be transferred to the hospital, where it was found she had an infection in the spinal fractures. She was transferred to Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls, where she succumbed to her condition ten days later, according to the suit. It also alleges that Hillcrest staff didn’t believe Peck was truly in pain and thought she was “faking it.”

The suit claims that after an investigation, the Iowa Department of Inspections & Appeals – Health Facilities Division said that the Peck family’s concerns regarding Hillcrest’s care and treatment of Peck were “substantiated,” and that they “failed to appropriately assess a resident’s condition and implement the necessary interventions…”

The estate seeks punitive damages as well as damages for Peggy Peck’s mental and physical pain and suffering.

The parties agreed to arbitration earlier this year. In February, the Peck family filed a motion to compel arbitration by October 1st. They allege in court documents that the nursing home and its providers have “demonstrated an unwillingness to pursue arbitration in a timely manner.” The nursing home and its providers deny any obstructionist posture.

Judge Roger Sailer ruled that the court’s order staying proceedings remains in effect. He denied the motion to compel arbitration by October 1st and a motion made by the nursing home and its providers requesting payment of costs related to defending the Peck family’s motion to compel arbitration by October 1st.

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