August 10, 2001

Newspaper: The Daily Item: Peabody Edition
By: Thor Jourgensen

August 10, 2001

The parents of a Sunbridge Rehabilitation patient who died after breaking her hip at the facility are preparing to take legal action against the trou­bled head injury center.

Sunbridge is under state investigation after an assault in the Granite Street facility last Saturday cost one patient an eye and her alleged attacker facing potential criminal charges. Police continued to investigate the attack even as state public health investiga­tors undertake a top-to-bottom look at Sunbridge’s Lynn opera­tion.

The investigation is focusing on staff training and patient supervision – two areas that the parents of the late Lori Carlson plan to question in a legal case against Sunbridge.

An attorney for the Lynn cou­ple is filing a consumer protec­tion complaint with the state that will challenge the level of supervision the 33-year-old woman was receiving on the day she broke her right hip.

Attorney David Hoey said Carlson was supposed to be under 24-hour supervision at the facility and receive assis­tance in bathing and other basic tasks. He-said Carlson, who suffered from a number of mental impairments, slipped after spilling body lotion on a bathroom floor Oct. 8,1999.

“Lori was under a physician’s orders for 24-hour-a-day super­vision,” Hoey said.

She developed an infection in her hip that her parents claim contributed to her death January 12, 2000. Hoey on Thursday said Sunbridge representatives have verbally told him that they do not believe Carlson’s death was related to her injury. Sunbridge spokesman Dan Hill did not have details of Carlson’s resi­dency at Sunbridge yesterday and was researching informa­tion on the facility’s response to her injury.

The attack last weekend that seriously injured Sunbridge patient Dawn Brudie was not the first incident of patient injury at the former Mediplex facility. A man walked through an unlocked third floor door Sept. 7,2000, and jumped off the facility’s roof, breaking several bones.

State public health officials issued Sunbridge a violation in the wake of that incident and another in April, 2000 involving a patient with facial injuries.

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