Articles Posted in Infections in Nursing Homes

In a recent blog, our nursing home abuse and negligence attorneys in Baltimore, Maryland discussed the danger of sepsis in nursing homes, a leading cause of death among elderly residents.

Sepsis is a deadly blood disease that forms a massive infection in the body, resulting in blood poisoning. In nursing homes across the country, sepsis often results from an infection of surgical wounds, surgical drains, intravenous lines, and stage IV pressure sores, or decubitus ulcers, and is often associated with nursing home neglect and abuse.

It is reported that every year, over 200,000 people in this country die from different forms of sepsis. Sepsis usually begins as an infection and spreads quickly, causing tissue damage, organ failure and also death. Sepsis is very dangerous with nursing home residents, as their immune systems are often weak.

Preventative measures for sepsis in nursing homes include early detection and treatment of infected areas, like pressure sores, a leading cause of nursing home injury that affects nearly one million Americans every year. As our Maryland nursing home injury attorneys reported in a blog, pressure sores often develop after a resident stays in one position for too long, which causes a restriction of the resident’s blood supply to the skin, wherein pressure sores form due to the unrelieved pressure.

Nursing home residents who are elderly and have restricted movement are highly susceptible to bed sores, and if the sores go untreated, they can lead to bacterial sepsis. Many cases of advanced pressure sores are often the result of nursing home neglect, and many times lead to a resident’s death. Nursing home staff should pay special attention to elderly residents who are at risk for developing bed sores, or sepsis, in order to prevent nursing home injury or wrongful death. Around 60,000 people are reported to die every year from some form of complication surrounding the more advanced stages of pressure sores.

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Our Maryland nursing home negligence attorneys recently discussed a wrongful death settlement of 43.5 million in a blog, after a nursing home operator was found responsible for negligence that allegedly led to a resident’s death.

In another recent wrongful death lawsuit settlement from this week that our attorneys have been following, a Wisconsin nursing home will pay $2.25 million, after a resident died in the home from an infection.

According to the lawsuit, Cynthia Wilms was a patient at the Willows Nursing and Rehabilitation Center after a 2007 hip replacement surgery. The home is being accused of neglecting Wilms’ surgical wound, which led to sepsis, a blood disease that forms when bacteria enters the bloodstream and spreads throughout the body. Sepsis is a potentially lethal condition that progresses rapidly and can lead to organ failure. Wilms died a few weeks after the surgery.

In nursing homes across the country, sepsis often results from an infection of surgical wounds, surgical drains, intravenous lines, and stage IV pressure sores, and is often associated with nursing home neglect and abuse. Sepsis is very dangerous with nursing home residents, as their immune systems are often weak. Sepsis can cause death, as it is a blood infection that travels through the body rapidly. It is reported that every year, over 200,000 people in the United States die from different forms of sepsis.

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In yesterday’s blog, our attorneys discussed the prevalence of pressure sores in nursing homes and assisted living residences, that often result in injury or wrongful death.

In a recent wrongful death lawsuit, the family of Frances Graham, a former 81-year old resident of an assisted living home in San Leandro, California, is suing Graham’s doctor, as well as the assisted living home, after Graham suffered from nursing home violence and devastating pressure sores all over her body, some reportedly as large as a baseballs—that lead to her tragic death. Graham’s family is also suing the nonprofit responsible for her care, the Center for Elders Independence, claiming that they put profits over her nursing home health and safety.

According to the suit, Graham was kept at the Andrew Elijah residential care home even though laws require that Alzheimer’s patients are cared for by a nursing staff that is skilled for such illnesses. Graham reportedly shared a room with a 72-year old dementia patient, who in June of last year, was found attacking Graham with a plastic hair pick. Graham suffered dozens of cuts on her body, and her left eye was bleeding and also bruised. Graham was reportedly treated by a doctor, and sent back to the Andrew Elijah home and put in a room that was private.

Graham’s son claims that soon after, Graham was rushed to the hospital with pneumonia, where a doctor discovered multiple bedsores on her body, so many that the doctors wrote in the notes that they weren’t sure that they even seen them all. The worst sore was allegedly a 4-inch hole that had eaten down to the tendons and smelled horribly. The doctor also found her to be anemic and dehydrated. Graham was moved to another health care center, and died two days later.

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Pressure sores, also known as bedsores or decubitus ulcers, plague nearly one million Americans every year, and are a leading cause of nursing home injury, as our Maryland nursing home injury attorneys reported in a recent blog.

Pressure sores develop after an individual rests for too long in one position without moving, cutting off the blood supply to a resident’s skin, forming sores from the pressure on the skin that is unrelieved. Nursing homes residents who are elderly and immobile are highly vulnerable to pressure ulcers. Many advanced decubitus ulcer cases are often the result of nursing home abuse and neglect, and can end in wrongful death. Around sixty thousand people reportedly die each year from complications of some of the more advanced stages of bedsores.

In a recent wrongful death lawsuit, a hospital is being charged with allegedly failing to prevent, treat, and monitor the pressure sores of a patient, causing him to develop serious infections that allegedly lead to his wrongful death.

According to the suit, William B. McCuller became a resident of Memorial Hospital and Memorial Convalescent Center in April of last year, where he developed pressure ulcers that became infected. The hospital and center staff are being accused of negligence, for failing to properly treat McCuller, failing to monitor and care for his bedsores properly, failing to identify him as a high risk patient for bedsores, and failing to identify the early states of ulcer occurrence. The staff is also being accused of neglecting to treat McCuller with the proper wound prevention and treatment protocol, and to properly train their staff on the prevention protocol as well.

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In a recent nursing home injury blog, our Washington D.C.-based attorneys reported on a current case in Northern California, where a nursing home is being accused of recklessly poor resident care and nursing home negligence, leading to the wrongful death of Frances Tanner, a Stockton native.

On Wednesday of this week, Colonial Healthcare was found guilty of elder abuse, and Tanner’s daughter, Elizabeth Pao was awarded $1.1 million in monetary damages for Tanner’s suffering and pain, after enduring a nursing home fall in 2005 that broke her hip and led to a bedsore that became so infected it reportedly took her life.

Colonial Healthcare, over the course of the two week trial, has been accused of poor care, chronic and extreme understaffing, nursing home corporate greed, and failing to care for Tanner in every way—by allowing her to fall and break her hip, neglecting to record her level of treatment and care, and neglecting to prevent the bed sores that after becoming so infected, lead to her death.

According to the Sacramento Bee, yesterday, in the second phase of the case, the jury panel awarded $28 million in punitive damages for Frances Tanner’s abuse and wrongful death, in an effort to send a message to Horizon West Healthcare and its company leaders to stop the chronic understaffing and substandard care that has lead to nursing home negligence and resident death. The jury reportedly decided on the punitive damages after hearing evidence in court about the finances of the corporation—the corporation is reportedly worth around $200 million. This is said to be the largest elder-abuse award in Sacramento County history.

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As Washington D.C. Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Attorneys, we have been following a recent case of elder abuse, where a Sacramento County Superior Court jury found a nursing home guilty for the 2005 wrongful death of a Northern California resident.

Frances Tanner, a former administrative worker who had been employed by various agencies including the FBI and the IRS, reportedly moved into Colonial Healthcare, a nursing home in Auburn, California, in March of 2005 at the age of 79. Although she was suffering from mild dementia, Tanner was reportedly mobile, strong, talkative and in great spirits.

In September of 2005, Tanner suffered a nursing home fall and broke her hip. According to the lawsuit testimony, Tanner was not properly diagnosed with a hip fracture for another eight days, during which time a bed sore was discovered. After the surgery, the bed sore progressed rapidly, and Tanner reportedly died a few weeks later from a massive infection of the pressure sore that caused her great pain and suffering.

During the course of past two weeks, the home has been accused of poor care, chronic and extreme understaffing, and nursing home corporation greed. Colonial was accused of recklessly failing to care for Tanner in every way—by allowing her to endure a broken hip, failing to keep accurate notes on her treatment and care, and neglecting to prevent or care for the bed sore that allegedly killed her.

Today, the jury awarded Elizabeth Pao, Tanner’s daughter, $1.1 million in monetary damages for Tanner’s suffering and pain, and for the loss of companionship. The punitive damages will be announced on Thursday.

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In a previous blog, our Maryland-based Nursing Home Attorneys discussed a nursing home abuse case involving employees from Madison Manor, one of the Richmond Health and Rehabilitation Complex homes in Kentucky, who pleaded guilty of resident abuse.

This week, another lawsuit was brought against one of the Richmond complex homes—Kenwood Nursing Home. Charles Brock, the son of former patient Margaret Brock, is accusing the home of wrongful death, alleging that the nursing home administrators and employees failed to provide Brock’s mother with quality care, and protect her legal right to nursing home heath and safety.

According to the lawsuit, Margaret Brock, was admitted Kenwood Nursing Home on August 27, 2008 at the age of 80. Brock’s son claims that the home violated multiple nursing home health and safety regulations during her stay at the home—that lead to her wrongful death.

Brock claims that while under the care of Kenwood nursing home, his mother suffered nursing home falls, medication errors, malnutrition, dehydration, and pneumonia. Brock also reportedly suffered infections in the home including sepsis, methicillin-sensitive staphylococcus aureus, as well as great amounts of pain and eventually death.

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As Washington D.C.-area Nursing Home Injury Attorneys, we have been following a case that has recently gone to trial accusing an Arizona-based nursing home of neglect, failure to prevent pressure sores, and wrongful death.

Irma Smith, 98, was a resident of Devon Gables Healthcare Center, and according to the lawsuit, when Smith died on September 7, 2006, she was experiencing unnecessary pain from a pressure sore on her backside that had grown so large that it was one inch deep and as wide as a grapefruit. The sore had reportedly eaten through both her bone and muscle and became infected, which lead to sepsis and allegedly caused Smith’s death.

Kathleen Havens, Smith’s daughter, and also a resident nurse, is bringing the wrongful death lawsuit against Devon Gables, and claimed that the nursing home had been making cutbacks in staffing, which lead to the nursing home negligence. In one incident, after being left unattended, Smith reportedly fell out of her wheelchair onto her face, suffering from head, leg and arm wounds.

Smith was admitted to Devon Gables in July of 2006, because Havens was having difficulty lifting and caring for her mother. Smith was a resident of the nursing home until the wheelchair fall, in which she was transferred to Tucson Medical Center. The pressure sore was so severely infected that Smith reportedly developed sepsis and died ten days later.

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Our nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers in Maryland and the Washington D.C. area have been following the news of a lawsuit settlement announced yesterday between five Missouri-based nursing homes, the operator of the homes, and federal prosecutors. The homes were charged with severe negligence, inadequate care, lack of staffing, and complaints of fraud.

The five nursing homes are all operated by Cathedral Rock of Texas, but are located in Missouri. According to the Star-Telegram, the nursing home company acted with severe nursing home neglect, by leaving nursing home residents’ skin sores untreated for so long that they became infested with maggots and amputations were necessary. The staff was also accused of not bathing, feeding, or providing the proper bathroom accommodations for the nursing home residents.

In the plea agreements, the company admitted that the homes were not equipped with enough staff to provide adequate nursing home care and that residents often did not receive required medication or proper wound care treatment. The company also admitted to doctoring the medical records to give the appearance that all patient medications had been administered, regardless of whether they had been given or not. The nursing home was also charged with cheating Medicare and Missouri Medicaid, by submitting fraudulent claims for services that weren’t provided or were of no value.

Cathedral Rock of Texas pleaded guilty to felony health care fraud, and C. Kent Harrington, a majority owner in Forth Worth, entered a plea agreement that will require him to pay, along with Cathedral Rock, $1 million in criminal fines. Harrington and the nursing home company must also pay $628,000 to resolve civil allegations of fraudulent claims made to Medicare and Missouri Medicaid, as well as implement programs that protect nursing home residents from abuse and neglect in the future.

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As Maryland Nursing Home Neglect Attorneys, we have been following the recent nursing home neglect case ruling against Rosewood Care Center on behalf of Catherine Taylor, a patient who died in 2004 at the age of 88 from bed sore complications during her stay at the Illinois facility.

Taylor was a resident of Rosewood Care Center, in July and August of 2004, and was taken to Provena Saint Joseph Medical Center in August for a treatment to remove bedsores and treat bone infections that developed, according to the suit, as a result of being confined to her bed without proper nursing home care. She had allegedly developed a bedsore on her backside that was the size of a fist, and died in December 2004 at the age of 88 from complications of the bedsore infection.

On Monday of this week, a jury ruled against Rosewood Care Center, and awarded the family of Catherine Taylor $51,000 in damages. The center is also responsible for covering all attorney fees over the past five years of the lawsuit.

Bedsores, also known as decubitus ulcers or pressure sores, are a major problem in nursing homes, causing injury and death to nearly one million Americans every year. When residents are left sitting or lying in the same position for long periods of time, the skin starts to break down, causing pressure sores which can lead to bone infections, or osteomyelitis—an inflammation of the bones caused by a bacteria that enters the body through the wound and attacks the bone. Once the bone becomes infected, an abscess can develop, resulting in the loss of blood supply that hinders the natural healing ability of the body.

Osteomyelitis can be treated with antibiotics, yet some cases require surgery to remove the dead tissue, bone, and fluid from the area around the bed sore with a scalpel, so the skin can heal. The mortality rate reported for residents with osteomyelitis is extremely high.

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