WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today David Kurth of Burlington, Wisconsin testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition and Consumer Rights and the Special Committee on Aging in favor of the Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act of 2008. The legislation is sponsored by Wisconsin Senator Herb Kohl.
The Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act would protect families from mandatory arbitration by ensuring that arbitration is voluntary and agreements occur only after a dispute has occurred.
David Kurth testified on behalf of his father William Kurth who died on June 25, 2005 from sepsis of the blood due to infections caused by 13 bedsores.
“Most of these bedsores ran deep into the bones of his hips and pelvis,” said David. “The infections were caused by the excrement and urine that was not cleansed from the wounds for days at a time. The bedsores were caused by neglect. The wound care nurse that was responsible for caring for my father has been charged and found guilty of criminal neglect by the State of Wisconsin for her actions.”
William Kurth served many years as an officer in both the United States Army and Wisconsin National Guard.
“How ironic is it that my father died of infections due to neglect caused by the unscrupulous cost cutting measures of a large nursing home corporation that has been cited for neglect many times over the last several years,” said David. “How disgusting is it that the very system of justice and laws my father fought to protect are now acting to prevent our family from having our day in court.”
The Kurth family is represented by Jason Studinski, of Kammer & Studinski of Portage, Wisconsin, who traveled to Washington D.C. with the family.
Recent news stories have highlighted the problems with mandatory binding arbitration in credit card contracts but even more egregious is the increasing use of binding arbitration in nursing home contracts. These clauses force families to take their case to an arbitrator even when a loved one is seriously injured or dies.
“This is an important piece of legislation that will protect seniors from coast to coast,” said Christine Bremer Muggli, president of the Wisconsin Association for Justice. “Millions of us trust the wellbeing of our parents to nursing homes. Those corporations that use these arbitration clauses are putting their profit margins above the health and safety of our loved ones. This legislation needs to be passed to ensure there is accountability in tragic cases like that of William Kurth.”