A $12 million settlement has been reached in a case brought by a disabled man against Spectrum Community Services of Indiana, LLC, a Crown Point home health care agency. James Kosinski, the Plaintiff, suffered third degree burns and permanent brain damage in 2009. His case was settled a week before a trial was to start in Superior Court. It was contended that the home care agency failed to follow safety rules and hired an employee who was neither qualified nor competent. The Plaintiff had been receiving 24-hour supervision and assistance because of his severe disabilities that include autism, cerebral palsy and a seizure disorder.
The facts of the case, according to the lawsuit filed on January 19, 2009, set out a sad story. The Plaintiff’s bathtub was filled with scalding hot water by a new employee who had no medical training. The Plaintiff was then put in the tub, but since he was unable to speak or scream out for help, he could only struggle in an attempt to get out of the tub. The employee said he believed the Plaintiff was having a seizure so he held him down in the water. The Plaintiff’s skin began to blister and peel away when he was finally removed from the tub.
The Plaintiff was taken by helicopter to the University of Chicago burn unit, suffering from second and third degree burns on his feet, legs, buttocks and back. As a result of the burns, the Plaintiff suffered respiratory failure, pulmonary edema and sepsis. His seizures increased and he needed a feeding tube and a ventilator. Reportedly, the Spectrum worker was fired.
The proceeds from the settlement will be placed into a restrictive trust for the Plaintiff, who now lives in a nursing home. His family hopes to be able to bring the Plaintiff back home for care and treatment. Timothy S. Schafer, a lawyer with Schafer & Schafer, a firm located in Merrillville, Ind., represents the Plaintiff and his family. He did a very good job in this case.
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