The family of an elderly woman who died as a result of a massive infection filed an $8 million lawsuit yesterday against the woman's doctor and the Wisconsin Avenue Nursing Home where she lived.
According to the suit, filed in D.C. Superior Court, Myrtle Louise Portch died on Aug. 24, 1984, almost a year after medical staff at the nursing home first noticed ulcers on her buttocks.
Over the next several months, the suit alleges, the ulcers increased in number and grew in size, so much so that by the time Portch was transferred to a hospital in March at least one of the ulcers had tripled in size and Portch was dehydrated and emaciated.
The lawsuit charges that the nursing home, where Portch lived for three years, did not routinely examine her and failed to respond "appropriately" or in a "timely" manner "to the worsening condition" of Portch's uclers.
The suit also alleges that Portch's doctor, Warren Brill, failed to monitor Portch's condition and did not order "adequate nutrition" for the District woman. According to the suit, Portch first began refusing her food in January 1984 and near the end of February, after her daughter insisted she see a doctor, Portch was diagnosed as anorexic.
Syvil Hunter, the administrator of the Northwest Washington nursing home, said yesterday she was not aware of the lawsuit. Brill said he did not remember Portch.
Portch died at another nursing home where she was transferred after a two-month stay at the George Washington University Medical Center, according to the suit.