A Texas nursing home is being sued for a second time over a preventable patient death caused by wounds precipitated by inadequate care, according to attorneys.
Earlier this month the family of a 76-year-old woman filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the nursing facility in the Waco metropolitan area. The woman, who was otherwise healthy, was admitted to the facility in November 2015 so she could receive care for a broken leg. Her full recovery was anticipated and she was expected to return to her home once her leg had healed.
However, weeks after her admission to the nursing facility, an orthopedist found a wound on her leg under an “immobilizer,” akin to a splint or a cast. Not only did the nursing staff fail to prevent the avoidable wound, they delayed timely treatment, causing the wound to expand, according to the lawsuit. By the time treatment began, the woman was suffering from a Stage 2 wound.
“At Stage 2, the skin breaks open, wears away, or forms an ulcer, which is usually tender and painful. The sore expands into deeper layers of the skin. It can look like a scrape, blister, or a shallow crater in the skin. Sometimes this stage looks like a blister filled with clear fluid. At this stage, some skin may be damaged beyond repair or may die,” according to WebMD.
By the time anyone noticed the wound, it had grown to almost four inches long and more than an inch wide with an undetermined depth. Even though the wound was detected by the orthopedist in mid-December, a wound care specialist did not examine the woman for another two weeks. By the end of January, about the time the woman should have been going home, her condition had worsened to the point that tendons in her leg were exposed and doctors decided to amputate her leg above her knee. The woman never recovered and died in February.
In 2014 another family sued the same nursing home for unspecified damages related to the wrongful death of an 81-year-old man. In that case, the man was admitted to the home in December 2011 after he fell. The man suffered from Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease and needed around-the-clock care. He died in late September 2012, as a result of pressure ulcers he developed at the nursing home.
Pressure ulcers — also called bedsores — are injuries to skin and underlying tissue resulting from prolonged pressure on the skin, according to the Mayo Clinic online. “Bedsores most often develop on skin that covers bony areas of the body, such as the heels, ankles, hips and tailbone. Bedsores can develop quickly and are often difficult to treat. Several things can help prevent some bedsores and help with healing.”
Nursing home staff anticipated the man was at risk for pressure ulcers, so they developed a plan to prevent them by providing him with a pressure-reducing mattress and repositioning him regularly. However, the staff did not provide the man with the mattress until three weeks after he developed multiple ulcers. By then he had been in the care home for more than four months.
If you have been injured or a loved killed at a nursing home or assisted-living facility due to negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the offices of trial attorneys Charles Gilman and Briggs Bedigian at 800-529-6162 or contact them online. The firm handles cases in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.