Youngstown, Ohio Family Files Suit After Mother Dies from Infected Wound

Michael Hill Trial Law seeks justice after Mother Dies from Infected Wound in Youngstown Ohio

Darlene Hicks came to Greenbriar Healthcare Center for treatment of wounds from a fall at home. But she developed a necrotizing infection after nurses failed to follow doctors’ wound care orders and act on signs of an infection, resulting in her death according to the lawsuit filed in Mahoning County, Ohio. Michael Hill Trial Law represents the family in the lawsuit. 

According to the lawsuit, the Estate of Darlene Hicks vs. Greenbriar Healthcare Center, et al., “the Facility was aware that Darlene was at a high risk for developing infections and pressure wounds (aka “bed sores” or “pressure ulcers”). The Facility had orders to cleanse and change the dressing daily on small wound(s) Darlene presented with upon admission, and the Facility was to turn/reposition her at least every 2 hours. The Facility recklessly and negligently failed to continually follow the orders.”

The lawsuit states “Darlene’s condition kept deteriorating and by April 13, 2022, Darlene requested that they have her transferred to an outpatient wound clinic for wound treatment. The Facility did not transfer Darlene to the hospital or a wound care facility, despite clear signs she was not improving and was infected. It was not until April 18, 2022, that the facility finally sent Darlene to the hospital.”

The lawsuit continues, stating “[t]he facility ignored Darlene’s condition for so long that she had developed a flesh eating bacteria and SEPSIS before they would send her to the hospital. Developing SEPSIS and necrotizing fasciitis was completely avoidable if the Facility would have had an adequate care plan, had changed the dressing on wounds as ordered, properly treated Darlene, reported the changes in her condition to her family, reported the changes in her condition to her doctors, or transferred her to the hospital when it was clear she likely had an infection.”

Darlene’s wound infection became so severe the wound grew and tunneled through her thigh – it got so large she required a colostomy to prevent feces from getting into the wound. Darlene became so ill she needed a surgically inserted feeding tube to provide her with nutrition. Darlene Hicks died on January 15, 2022, after an almost three-month battle with the infection of her right thigh wound that began at Greenbriar Healthcare Center.  According to her death certificate, the cause of Darlene’s death was sepsis due to necrotizing fasciitis. 

“What happened to Darlene was the result of a total failure to provide for her most basic care needs,” says Matt Mooney, one of the family’s lawyers. “Greenbriar’s nurses should have followed doctors’ orders to regularly change Darlene’s wound dressings and assess the wound daily for signs of infection, but the records show this regularly wasn’t done.”

That wasn’t the only problem, according to Mooney: ”Greenbriar wasn’t giving Darlene enough food and water while she was their resident. Over the 82 days she was under Greenbriar’s care, she lost almost 99 lbs. – that’s simply unacceptable.”

Understaffing at Greenbriar at Fault?

“Often, when we see breakdowns in nurses’ ability to provide basic care, it’s simply because there aren’t enough hands on deck to handle the number of patients their expected to care for. The owners set up the nurses for failure and make their job impossible by understaffing the facility,” Mooney said.

This seems to be true for Greenbriar Healthcare Center. According to Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare website, Greenbriar had the lowest score of one star out of five for staffing – or much below state and national averages for nurse to patient ratios:

According to the lawsuit, the reason Greenbriar didn’t have enough staff was because “Defendants engaged in a systemic practice to understaff the facilities to maximize profits at the expense of its residents’ care.”

“For nursing homes generally, the largest individual revenue source is residents (filling beds), and the largest individual expense is the cost of employing nursing staff to provide care to those residents. This creates a financial incentive to take on more residents with greater care needs than the nursing staff can properly care for, a violation of federal nursing home regulations regarding staffing levels,” the lawsuit states.

Who Owns Greenbriar Healthcare Center?

Greenbriar Healthcare Center is owned by the Communicare Family of Companies, a.k.a. Health Care Facility Management, LLC. Communicare is a massive chain of nursing homes, controlling as many as 122 facilities in seven states including Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Missouri, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. Communicare runs 32 facilities in Ohio. A complete list of these facilities is below:

Adison Health Care Center: 8055 Addison Rd SE, Masury, OH 44438Advanced Specialty Hospitals of Toledo: 1015 Garden Lake Pkwy Toledo, OH 43614Allen View Healthcare Center: Address: 2615 Derr Rd Springfield, OH 45503
Austintown Healthcare Center: 650 S Meridian Rd Youngstown, OH 44509Berea Alzheimer’s Care Center: 49 Sheldon Rd Berea, OH 44017BridgePort Healthcare Center: 2125 Royce St Portsmouth, OH 45662
Brookside Healthcare Center: 315 Lilienthal Street Cincinnati, OH 45204Burlington House Rehab and Alzheimer’s Center: 2222 Springdale Rd. Cincinnati, OH 45231Canfield Healthcare Center: 2958 Canfield Rd Youngstown, OH 44511
Chardon Healthcare Center: 620 Water St Chardon, OH 44024Clifton Healthcare Center: 625 Probasco St Cincinnati, OH 45220Columbus Healthcare Center: 4301 Clime Rd N Columbus, OH 43228
Copley Health Center: 155 Heritage Woods Dr Copley, OH 44321Crestwood Care Center: 225 W Main St Shelby, OH 44875Dixon Healthcare Center: 135 Reichart Ave Wintersville, OH 43952
Evergreen Healthcare Center: 924 Charlie’s Way Montpelier, OH 43543Falling Water Healthcare Center: 18840 Falling Water Rd Strongsville, OH 44136Grande Lake Healthcare Center: 1209 Indiana Ave St Marys, OH 45885
Grande Pointe Healthcare Community: 3 Merit Dr Richmond Heights, OH 44143Greenbrier Health Center: 6455 Pearl Rd Parma Heights, OH 44130Hanover Healthcare Center: 435 Avis Ave NW Massillon, OH 44646
Lake Pointe Health Center: 3364 Kolbe Rd Lorain, OH 44053Northwestern Healthcare Center: 570 N Rocky River Dr Berea, OH 44017Oak Grove Healthcare Center: 620 E Water St Deshler, OH 43516
Oxford Healthcare Center: 6099 Fairfield Road Oxford, OH 45056
Pebble Creek Healthcare Center:670 Jarvis Rd Akron, OH 44319Riverside Healthcare Center: 1390 King Tree Dr Dayton, OH 45405
Salem East Healthcare Center: 230 Continental Dr Salem, OH 44460Salem North Healthcare Center: 250 Continental Dr Salem, OH 44460Salem West Healthcare Center: 2511 Bentley Drive Salem, OH 44460
The Colony Healthcare Center: 563 Colony Park Dr Tallmadge, OH 44278The Pines Healthcare Center: 3015 17th St NW Canton, OH 44708Three Rivers Healthcare Center: 7800 Jandaracres Drive Cincinnati, OH 45248
Wood Glen Alzheimer’s Community: 3800 Summit Glen Rd Dayton, OH 45449
Wyant Woods Healthcare Center: 200 Wyant Rd Akron, OH 44313

Questions About A Potential Lawsuit Involving Communicare Family of Companies, Communicare Healthcare Services, or Another Facility? 

The trial attorneys of Michael Hill Trial Law are nationally recognized and handle exclusively cases against long term care facilities. Michael and his firm, Michael Hill Trial Law, handle cases across the country. If you have any questions about cases involving Communicare or any other nursing homes, assisted living facilities, or group homes, you can contact Michael Hill Trial Law at, by sending an email to, or by calling (800) 659-2712.