When sending a loved one to a nursing home or a long-term care facility, we expect and hope that the facility team members will do their job and do it well. Putting the care of a loved one in the hands of others is an act of trust, but when facilities fail to effectively care for patients, this goes against federal and state laws that serve to protect patients. In a recent case from Florida, a Florida jury awarded $12.5 million in damages after a wrongful death lawsuit involving an assisted living facility. The deceased’s family brought the suit against the facility, alleging that the facility’s negligent care resulted in their family member developing a fatal bloodstream infection from a bedsore. The deceased, an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s, was alleged to be physically healthy when she entered the facility, according to the lawsuit. However, two months after moving to the facility, the elderly woman developed severe bedsores and pneumonia, which required emergency medical care.
The lawsuit alleged that the woman developed a severe bedsore on her back, which caused an open wound deep enough to expose the bone. The wrongful death lawsuit claimed that the facility was understaffed and negligent, which caused the deceased to develop a severe and fatal stage of pressure ulcer. In the end, the jury sided with the plaintiff, and the family was awarded a $12.5 million verdict.
What Are the Risks of Bedsores?
Bed sores, which may also be referred to as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers, are skin lesions that can develop in a hospital, nursing home, or long-term care facility due to a lack of blood flow to an area of skin that is exposed to prolonged pressure. In long-term care facilities, it is standard protocol to pay close attention to those who have a higher risk of bedsores, either by changing the patient’s position every two hours or using pillows, for example. In cases involving bed sores due to neglect of the nursing home provider, the neglect may be that they failed to monitor or reposition patients who have limited mobility.