Articles Posted in Bedsores, Pressure Sores, Decubitus Ulcers

Our Hartford County, Maryland nursing home attorneys have been following a recent nursing home neglect and wrongful death lawsuit trial, where a Georgia jury awarded the family of a resident with over $9 million after finding the nursing home responsible for her neglect and mistreatment.

The lawsuit claimed that Charlotte Paulette Dean, a 51-year old resident of the County Crossing Assisted Living and Hutcheson Home Health Care, who suffered from cerebral palsy, was found to have various infected decubitus ulcers, or pressure sores, after being rushed to the hospital in 2006.

Dean reportedly died the following day in the hospital, and her family claims in the lawsuit that Dean’s personal injuries and wrongful death were caused by the nursing home’s negligence and mistreatment, and failure to properly care for Dean while she was a resident of the home. The trial reportedly lasted for one week, wherein the jury decided to award Dean’s family with $9,502,683 to cover pain, suffering, wrongful death, and funeral expenses.

Under the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987, all residents living in assisted living or nursing homes are entitled to receive quality care and attention with a supportive environment that improves and maintains the quality of their physical and mental health. If a Maryland assisted living or nursing home resident becomes injured or dies because of nursing home neglect, the home could be responsible for Maryland nursing home wrongful death or negligence.

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As Baltimore County nursing home injury attorneys, we have recently read about yet another nursing home negligence lawsuit filed in Illinois, where a health and rehabilitation center is being sued for failing to properly care for Betty Dressel, a resident suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, who reportedly developed pressure ulcers all over her body while residing at the home that her family claims led to her wrongful death.

Decubitus Ulcers, also known as pressure ulcers or bedsores often occur with elderly nursing home residents suffering from Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, who are resting in the same position for long periods of time without moving—causing areas on the body to lose circulation, which leads to skin breakdown, a problem that our lawyers recently stated in a Maryland nursing home injury blog, is entirely preventable.

Without proper nursing home staff attention, pressure sores often progress into the four stages of bedsore development, where small sores turn into deep painful craters as a result of skin breakdown, damaging joints and tendons and causing major infections which can lead to personal injury or even death.

The lawsuit claims that Betty Dressel was treated at Cedar Ridge Health Care and Rehab Center with substandard care, and as a result of her deteriorated mental condition, they restrained her to her bed, placing her at a high risk of physical deterioration. According to her daughter, this negligent treatment lead to the development of pressure sores that reportedly formed on Dressel’s back, legs, buttocks and feet that became infected, causing sepsis, a potentially fatal infection of the blood.

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As Baltimore, Maryland nursing home injury attorneys we have recently discussed the topic of elder abuse in a nursing home abuse blog, and the prevalence of abuse in health care facilities and communities across the country, unlawfully causing harm, personal injury, and even death to older and vulnerable adults.

According to the NCEA and the NCCNHR, types of elder abuse include emotional, physical, verbal, sexual, and psychological abuse, as well as neglect, intimidation, abandonment, and exploitation.

• Physical abuse includes inflicting physical pain or injury on an elder, or the threat of inflicting pain. Physical abuse also includes hitting, pinching, slapping, shoving, and force-feeding, along with rough handling during nursing home care and treatment, when being moved, cared for, fed or given medicine. Physical abuse can also result from a nursing home staff member or an outside intruder or visitor.

• Emotional or psychological abuse inflicts mental pain, anguish, or distress on an elderly person or nursing home resident through verbal and non-verbal acts, which includes ridiculing or cursing a resident, threats of punishment or deprivation, rejection or isolation.

• Sexual abuse is non-consensual sexual contact where a resident is tricked, forced, threatened or coerced into performing acts of a sexual nature.

• Neglect is the failure to provide elderly adults with basic needs, such as proper health care and medical treatment, shelter, protection or food, which can result in conditions like dehydration, malnourishment, incontinence, pressure sores, incontinence, depression and immobilization.

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In a previous Baltimore nursing home lawyer blog, our attorneys discussed the risk of pressure sore development in nursing homes, and the importance of proper nursing home care for pressure ulcer prevention and maintenance, to avoid resident injury or complications that can result in death.

According to recent news, a wrongful death lawsuit has been filed by Donald Simonton, who is suing Teays Vallen Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and Charleston Area Medical Center for the death of his mother, Linda Bea Simonton. Simonton claims that the home engaged in nursing home negligence that reportedly led to the development and worsening of her bedsores, or decubitus ulcers, leading to her wrongful death.

Simonton was reportedly a resident of the home from December of 2008 to January of 2009, to receive physical and occupational therapy as well as skilled wound-care treatment for her legs. Her son claims that while she was at the home, her leg wounds became much worse and she developed additional pressure sores that would not have formed if the center had provided adequate nutrition. Simonton claims that his mother also suffered from inadequate hydration, which led to acute renal failure, among other health conditions leading to her untimely death.

As our Baltimore County nursing home lawyers discussed in a previous pressure sore prevention blog, once a pressure sore starts to form, the wound needs to be cared for immediately, as the sores can be healed with proper wound-care management, to prevent further skin breakdown or tissue loss. According to the Mayo Clinic, diet is also an essential part of pressure sore prevention and healing, as balanced meals supply the necessary nutrients needed to keep residents healthy.

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As our attorneys have discussed in a related Baltimore nursing home lawyer blog post, pressure sores, or decubitus ulcers, are a rampant nursing home and assisted-living problem plaguing around one million people across the country every year, with nearly 60,000 deaths from complications of the advanced stages of pressure sores. Decubitus ulcers are sores that are entirely preventable, with proper nursing home care.

Pressure sores often develop at nursing home or assisted-living facilities when patients are elderly, or have limited mobility and rest for long periods of time without moving positions, which applies pressure to specific areas of the body and cuts off blood circulation, leading to skin deterioration or breakdown.

With proper nursing home staff attention, pressure sores can be prevented before they develop into the four stages of pressure sore development, often leading to soft tissue loss, deep painful craters, damage of joints and tendons and massive infections like sepsis or osteomyelitis, which can lead to nursing home injury or even death.

Other contributing pressure sore factors include dehydration, poor nutrition and lack of vitamins and minerals, as well as understaffed nurses, and health care staff without proper bed sore prevention and treatment training, which can lead to nursing home negligence—where elderly or immobile residents are left to sit for long periods of time without being moved, without having soiled undergarments changed, or without properly being cared for.

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A 3.5 million nursing home negligence settlement has been reached in the lawsuit against Washington-based Everett Care & Rehabilitation, that our Prince George’s County nursing home injury lawyers discussed in a recent blog, where the family of 97-year-old nursing home resident Charles Bradley sued the home for abuse and negligence after the resident tragically suffered from penile cancer that allegedly led to his wrongful death.

According to the lawsuit, in 2007, a nurse told the home’s care manager that Bradley was experiencing skin breakdown on his penis that needed treatment. The care manager allegedly neglected to tell the doctor about Bradley, who had been a resident since 2004. Four months after the initial report, Bradley started to lose weight due to an infection of the wound, yet allegedly continued to receive no care and remained untreated.

By the time Bradley reached the emergency room in March 2008, the doctors reportedly discovered a gaping skin wound and a severe infection that had led to the total disintegration of his genitalia. The court documents claim that Bradley’s skin wound was neglected and went untreated for months in the nursing facility, developing into life threatening penile cancer. Bradley died just over two weeks after entering hospital.

Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) reportedly began investigating Bradley’s case before his death, and cited the center for failure to provide a federal standard of care for Bradley as required by law.

The owner of Everett nursing home reportedly agreed to pay Bradley’s family $3.5 million, after the family sued Everett Care & Rehabilitation in 2009 for nursing home abuse and neglect for failing to protect and care for the elderly and for failing to provide Bradley with his lawful right to great nursing home care as well as his daily basic nursing home needs—causing serious harm to Bradley that allegedly resulted in his wrongful death.

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According to a recent news development that our Baltimore, Maryland nursing home attorneys have been watching, three nursing homes in New York State are facing huge state and federal penalties for nursing home violations that allegedly include nursing home negligence for failure to treat pressure sores, and failure to follow the advance wishes of residents who are terminally ill.

The Long-Term Care Community Coalition, a watchdog and advocacy group that tracks the enforcement of New York State nursing home laws, reported that Somers Manor Nursing Home will pay over $28,000 in fines after state inspections found the home to have a major problem failing to ensure that its residents’ “do-not-resuscitate” (DNR) wishes were not being followed, putting some residents at risk, by subjecting them to the painful resuscitation process when they have specifically asked not to be.

Northern Riverview Health Care Center, another home that received fines recently, will reportedly pay over $22,000 in fines for not properly preventing and treating pressure sores, or decubitus ulcers. As our Baltimore nursing home injury attorneys discussed recently in a blog, bed sores often occur when a resident is lying in one position for long periods of time without movement, restricting blood circulation. Bed sores can be prevented, and failure to do so can result in nursing home negligence or even lead to wrongful death.

Dumont Masonic Home reportedly paid $20,000 in sanctions last year, for failing follow proper procedures while renovating the nursing home building, which could have led to personal injury of its residents.

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A recent special report entitled “Seniors for Sale,” published by the Seattle Times, uncovered hundreds of cases of nursing home abuse, negligence and wrongful death in adult homes in Washington, where seniors had been injured or died as a result of neglect or substandard care in adult homes, often by receiving care from healthcare providers who were not properly trained.

As nursing home neglect lawyers based in Baltimore, Maryland, we have been following the recent news that in one of the cases, the former owner of an adult family home received a one year prison sentence for her role in the nursing home negligence and wrongful death of an 87-year old at Houghton’s Lakeview adult home.

According to the Seattle Times, 62-year-old Patricia Goodwill pleaded guilty to second-degree criminal mistreatment, for creating a substantial risk of death for resident Jean Rudolph, by failing to protect the elderly woman from developing pressure sores, and for failing to ensure proper care. Rudolph reportedly died of pressure sores that were untreated, and suffered greatly for three weeks prior to her death without proper treatment for her wounds.

As our Maryland nursing home attorneys discussed in a previous blog, elderly or immobile residents are at great risk for pressure sores, and one small inflammation can quickly develop into a deep crater that can be extremely painful, hard to heal, and can cause serious infection. It is important for nursing homes and adult care facilities to practice pressure sore prevention and treatment, to avoid nursing home neglect or wrongful death.

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In a recent blog, our Maryland nursing home attorneys discussed nursing home negligence and the prevalence of pressure sores plaguing elderly and immobile residents in nursing homes across the country, as well as the importance of pressure sore prevention to avoid nursing home injury or wrongful death.

Pressure ulcers commonly develop on areas of the body that are bony and close to the skin, with less padding by muscle and fat. Common areas include the tailbone, heels, hips, ankles, tailbones, shoulder blades, elbows, backs, shoulders as well as the back of the head. With pressure sores, one small inflammation can quickly develop into a deep crater that can be extremely painful, hard to heal, and can cause infections that are life-threatening.

To prevent bedsores, also called pressure sores, or decubitus ulcers, it is important to avoid lying directly on bony areas, as they are prone to pressure sore development. The Mayo Clinic recommends:

• If lying on your side, try lying at a 30-degree angle.
• When lying on your back, always support your legs with a pillow or soft pad from the middle of the calf to the ankle, to increase blood flow.
• Try to keep bony areas like ankles and knees from touching.
• Try and avoid raising the head of the bed more than 30 degrees, as this could cause the resident to slide down and increase friction. If the bed needs to be raised to a high height, pillows or foam wedges should be placed on hips and shoulders to help maintain proper alignment to reduce any rubbing.
• Patients who are lying down should be moved every two hours, and if in a wheel chair, should be manually moved every 15 minutes.

• Try mattresses and wheelchairs that are pressure-reducing.

For elderly or post-surgery residents who are immobile, diet is an essential part of pressure sore prevention and healing, as balanced meals supply the necessary nutrients needed to keep residents healthy. The Mayo Clinic recommends to:

• Eat smaller meals more frequently, to help ensure that residents are getting enough calories, protein, minerals and vitamins.
• Take advantage of times when residents have a hearty appetite, like when they are rested in the morning.
• Limit the amount of fluids given to residents during mealtime. Liquids can prevent a resident from eating higher calorie foods.
• If swallowing is a challenge, pureed foods, shakes and soups with protein can be easier to ensure calorie intake.

• Never rush a resident’s mealtime.

For families who have loved ones in a nursing home or care facility, it is also important to check the resident’s condition with each visit. The resident’s skin condition, weight, and general healthcare should be monitored with each visit, as well as weight. If there are any signs of nursing home neglect, like pressure sores, the nursing staff and doctor should be contacted immediately.

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In a recent blog, our Washington D.C. nursing home injury lawyers discussed nursing home negligence, and the danger of pressure sores in nursing homes today. Pressure sores, also known as decubitus ulcers or bedsores, affect around one million people across the country with nearly 60,000 people dying each year from complications of the very advanced stages of pressure sores, like osteomyelitis, a bacterial inflammation of the bones, and sepsis, an infection of the blood.

Pressure sores often develop as a result of nursing home negligence, when nursing home residents are immobile, confined to their beds or wheelchairs, have circulation problems, debilitating illnesses, incontinence, diabetes, dementia or other mental disabilities that lead to decreased mobility. When a nursing home resident sits or rests in the same position for long time periods without being moved by the nursing home staff, the circulation of blood to the skin is cut off, leading to the breakdown of skin, and pressure sores can rapidly develop.

There are four stages of pressure sore development, starting with Stage I, where an area of skin becomes red and discolored. In Stage II, the red area develops into a scrape or blister that forms an open sore, which results from the skin deterioration. If the wound is not cared for immediately, the skin continues to breakdown, leading to Stage III, where there is a greater degree of soft tissue loss beneath the surface of the skin, forming a shallow crater. With a Stage IV pressure sore, the crater becomes deeper, in some cases as large as a grapefruit, and the bone and muscle can be severely damaged, as well as joints and tendons. There is serious pain and depression associated with Stage IV pressure sores, and the deep craters can lead to life-threatening infections like osteomyelitis or sepsis, that can lead to nursing home injury or wrongful death.

As our nursing home attorneys in Washington D.C. discussed in a related blog, pressure sores are preventable, and at-risk residents should receive daily skin inspections for pressure sores, especially the bony areas of the body. Every two hours, bedridden residents should have their positions changed to relieve pressure on the skin, and every 15 minutes while sitting in a wheelchair. Residents should also have their skin protected from dampness caused by wound drainage, sweat, or incontinence. Some residents may benefit from a mattress or pad to relieve pressure on the skin, along with other technology designed to prevent pressure sores and nursing home injury. All nursing home residents should be also be given a healthy diet that is rich in vitamins and minerals to assist in pressure sore prevention and healing.

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