Articles Posted in Infections in Nursing Homes

Last month, the widow of a former resident at Madison Manor nursing home filed a nursing home negligence lawsuit against the Kentucky home, after she claims the nursing home neglected to care for her husband’s foot infection—which led to leg amputation and wrongful death.

According to a Richmond Register report, that our Baltimore nursing home attorneys have been watching develop, Donna Anderson claims that while her husband Robert was a patient at the Richmond Health and Rehabilitation facility/Madison Manor from April to May 2009, the home contributed to the deterioration of her husband’s physical health condition—that was far beyond the normal process of aging.

Anderson claims in the suit that her husband, Robert, suffered severe pain and suffering, disability, mental anguish, and disfigurement while he was a resident in the home, as well as loss of personal dignity, because of the negligent care in the nursing home.

The lawsuit also states that Anderson’s infection spread because the home did not take the necessary steps to provide proper care and hygiene, as well as taking necessary precautions to prevent malnutrition. As our Baltimore nursing home lawyer blog has reported in the past, key nutrition and a healthy diet that is rich in vitamins and minerals can be an important step to the prevention, healing and recovery of nursing home infection. Anderson also claimed that her husband’s care records were not properly maintained, and that his symptoms and pain were not properly monitored.

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According to recent news that our Baltimore nursing home attorneys have been following, a nursing home in West Virginia is being sued for negligence, after a patient living in the home for three years allegedly experienced neglect and wrongful death.

HCR Manorcare is reportedly being sued by Angela Black, claiming that family member Arcel Rose was neglected while living at the home from 2006 until his death in 2009. Black claims that the nursing home caused Rose’s deterioration of health and physical condition beyond what is caused by the normal process of aging—leading to dehydration, infections, pressure sores, malnutrition and death.

Black claims that while under the nursing home’s care, Rose experienced serious emotional and physical trauma, causing extreme and unnecessary pain, degradation, unnecessary hospitalizations, disfigurement, and loss of personal dignity.

As our attorneys have discussed in a related Maryland nursing home lawyer blog, pressure sores pose serious threat to nursing homes across the country, with around one million people affected every year, causing nearly 60,000 deaths from complications of the advanced bed sore development. As our lawyers have previously discussed, with proper nursing home care and prevention, pressure ulcers are entirely preventable and even reversible, if they are discovered quickly enough and given the immediate treatment and environment for proper healing.

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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 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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In a recent wrongful death lawsuit development that our Hartford County, Maryland nursing home attorneys have been watching, an Illinois nursing home has been accused of negligence and improper care that reportedly caused the death of a resident living in the home.

According to the complaint, Doris Schaepperkoetter entered The Lincoln Home, a long-term care facility in July of 2008. The executor of the estate, Carol Keifer, claims that from the time she entered the home until her death in January of 2010, she was not given the proper nursing home care that she was expected to receive by law.

While a resident at the home, Schaepperkoetter reportedly suffered from dehydration, hypoxia and sepsis, a dangerous infection of the blood that forms a massive infection in the body, resulting in blood poisoning, and is often associated with nursing home neglect and abuse. Sepsis can be a lethal condition if it progresses rapidly, and can lead to organ failure. According to the complaint, the combination of sepsis, dehydration and hypoxia caused her death.

Keifer is accusing the nursing home of wrongful death and nursing home negligence, and claims that The Lincoln Home Inc. and its owner, Weiss Management Group LLC, violated the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act, a law that protects residents in long-term care facilities from abuse and neglect.

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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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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 recent news that our nursing home injury attorneys in Baltimore, Maryland have been following, the wife of a nursing home resident who died last year after suffering from multiple nursing home falls as well as an infected pressure sore, has filed a lawsuit against the Illinois nursing home, seeking more than $50,000 in damages for nursing home negligence.

According to the lawsuit, Ralph Shafer was admitted to the nursing home in September of 2007, after suffering from two strokes, with signs of hypertension, dementia, and diabetes, among other health concerns. Shafer, who was 87 at the time, was reportedly at risk for nursing home falls, and according to Shafer’s wife, the nursing home facility failed to prevent his frequent falls. One tragic fall in 2008 led to a massive nursing home injury, where Shafer broke his hip and required surgery.

Shafer’s wife is also accusing the nursing home of failing to prevent the infection of a pressure sore on Shafer’s ankle, that reportedly developed as a result of his diabetes. Shafer died in April of 2009 from gangrene and osteomyelitis at the site of the wound, as well as complications from advanced dementia.

Osteomyelitis is a bacterial inflammation of the bones, that can develop when a Stage IV pressure sore causes severe damage to the skin, muscle and bone. As our Maryland nursing home injury lawyers discussed in a related blog, if a nursing home resident is bedridden, in a wheelchair, immobile with diabetes, has circulation issues or mental disabilities, and incontinence, the residents should be checked daily for pressure sores, and moved every two hours to relieve pressure and prevent skin breakdown that leads to pressure sores. The primary goal of pressure sore treatment is preventing them before they start.

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In a blog from last week, our Prince George’s nursing home injury attorneys reported on a wrongful death lawsuit, where Cynthia Wilms, a rehabilitation patient died in a nursing and rehabilitation facility from an infection that the lawsuit alleged was due to negligence and chronic understaffing.

In a new article published this week by the Capital Times, the newspaper interviewed Cynthia Wilms’ family, who told their own story of the nursing home abuse and neglect that allegedly lead to Wilms’ wrongful death.

Wilms was 72 when she was admitted to The Willows Nursing & Rehabilitation Center on July 30, 2007 to recover from hip replacement surgery. Wilms’ family claimed that although the surgery went very well, Wilms developed a staph infection at the site of the surgical wound, after being transferred to the facility. While staying at Willows, Wilms’ infection reportedly went untreated, and no important measures were taken to stop the infection. Wilms died from sepsis less than two months later, on September 13, 2007.

Phillip Wilms claimed that his wife’s health problems started the moment she arrived at the facility—her wheelchair was too small and didn’t function properly, the mattress on Wilms’ bed was too long, creating a uncomfortable “hammock” effect, and the wheels on her bed were broken, along with the bed’s ability to go up and down. The wheels on the table by the bed were also not functioning properly, and were reportedly caked with dust, dirt and hair. The were no phones in the room, and only way patients could communicate for help was to press the call button, although Phillip Wilms claimed it would take staff at least an hour to respond to any pleas for help.

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