An elderly woman reportedly died after suffering a serious and painful bedsore while in the care of a physician at a nursing home in New Jersey. Media reports are the family of the 90-year-old woman died approximately three months after being admitted to the nursing home with a fractured hip.
Her insurance covered her stay for 100 days, after which time she was promptly discharged. It was only at that time, when she was brought home, that family members say they discovered the bedsore on her lower back. She was rushed to the hospital, where doctors diagnosed her with a Stage IV bedsore. She was septic. She was frail and ultimately not able to overcome the blood infection. She died a short time later after being discharged to her home to be cared for by hospice workers.
Now, her family accuses the doctor and staff at the nursing home of either failing to notice the bedsore or of ignoring it as it developed – in either case a breach of the applicable standard of care for medical professionals of their position.
Reports are bedsores kill almost as many patients as deadly superbugs like MRSA, with such deaths noted by medical professionals as being “completely avoidable.” The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports approximately 160,000 nursing home residents in the country (or about 11 percent of the total) suffered from pressure ulcers (bed sores), with most of those being Stage 2 ulcers. Those under 64 and those with shorter stays were more likely to suffer. One in five with recent weight loss were at a much higher risk, and those who were immobile also had much higher rates. Bowel or bladder incontinence was also a significant risk factor.
For those who may be unfamiliar, bedsores are caused by unrelieved pressure on the skin. They are mostly common on bony points of the body, such as heels, hips, shoulders, elbows, back and the back of the head. These are serious medical conditions that, as this case shows, can prove fatal if untreated and can be a clear indicator that the level of care at a nursing home is sorely lacking.
Pressure ulcers are rated on a scale from Stage 1 to Stage 4, with 4 being the most serious. As our Fort Myers nursing home abuse attorneys can explain, at that level, there is a loss of full thickness of the skin, and one may have exposed bone or muscle.
In this case, complications from the Stage IV ulcer were cited as the cause of death. The wrongful death nursing home abuse lawsuit alleges reckless indifference and deliberate disregard for patient’s rights, as well as inadequate staff supervision, under-staffing and intentional underutilization of necessary services. The woman’s family noted they felt guilty that this had been happening while they continued to visit her. However, it’s important to note the family did not have a duty to regularly move the woman or to undress her and check to make sure no bed sores were forming on her back. They had every right to expect the nursing home was providing this care so that this very thing would not occur.
Call Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, at 1-800-646-1210.
Woman developed fatal bedsore while in nursing home’s care, suit claims, Aug. 13, 2017, By Anthony Arttrino, NJ.com
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