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Actor's Family Sues Nursing Home for Neglect

Golden Globe Award winner Gene Barry had a long and successful career. He began acting on Broadway in the 1940s and soon made the move to film, starring in The War of the Worlds in 1953. He then worked in television, holding the title role in Burke's Law in 1963-65 and again in a 1993 reprise. When Barry began to suffer from dementia-related diseases in the late 2000s, his children decided to place him in a nursing home, believing it would be a safe and healthy place for him. However, six months after he entered the home, Barry suffered serious injury and passed away four days later. His children have filed a lawsuit against the nursing home, claiming the staff neglected Barry and ultimately caused his death.

Barry became a resident of the Sunrise of Woodland Hills nursing home in June 2009, when he was 90 years old. At the time of his admittance, he suffered from Alzheimer's and dementia, but was in stable physical condition. According to the lawsuit, facility administrators were informed of Barry's mental condition during an initial meeting, and assured his children that they would provide the proper standard of care. However, under California law, elderly residential care facilities are prohibited from admitting patients whose "primary need for care and supervision results from dementia". Therefore, Barry's children are alleging that the facility violated the law by even admitting their father.

According to the nursing home neglect lawsuit, Barry fell on Dec. 5, 2009, suffering head injuries, brain damage, and a subdural hematoma, as well as fractured ribs and a hip injury. Barry's children allege that facility staff "completely ignored" Barry for the four remaining days of his life, and further, that they caused his death by failing to notify his regular physician and by poorly monitoring his condition. Barry passed away on Dec. 9.

In the lawsuit, Barry's children are seeking compensatory, pecuniary and punitive damages for their loss of comfort, love and emotional support due to their father's early death, as well as funeral costs and estate tax liability.

Source: Westlaw News and Insight, "Home's neglect cause actor Gene Barry's death, family says", 10 December 2010

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