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Bedsores, Staph, and Sepsis Lead Nursing Home to be Sued for Wrongful Death

Mellino Law Firm

August 3, 2014, theledger.com reported that a woman suffered from bedsores, dehydration, and several infections, including staph and sepsis, before dying at the nursing home where she resided for nearly two years. One of the woman’s six children has filed a wrongful death lawsuit for neglect.

Three years ago, the CDC said 20 percent of septic patients over age 65 die after being hospitalized. Septicemia is the most common reason nursing home residents are transferred to the hospital, according to modernhealthcare.com, which defined sepsis as “a fast-moving infection that often begins in the skin, lungs or abdomen and then spreads to the bloodstream.”

Sepsis can enter the bloodstream through bedsores, or pressure sores, when a patient becomes bedridden. The most likely candidates to develop bedsores are elderly people who are too weak or malnourished to move, spinal cord injury victims, and coma patients, per medicalnewstoday.com.

In 2009, a nursing home was sued for wrongful death after neglecting to treat a woman’s bedsores. When she first arrived from the hospital, she had three stage II pressure sores on her buttocks and one on each heel, said madisonrecord.com. By the time she was discharged one week later, the ulcers on her buttocks had reached stage IV, and the sores on her heels had multiplied. She died of sepsis and acute respiratory failure nearly three weeks later.

April 6, 2011, an ABC News affiliate reported that a 76-year-old nursing home resident died after a 10-inch by 4-inch-deep bedsore on her back became septic. One month earlier, a nursing home employee tried strangling her with a sweater, according to the county prosecutor. The woman’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the facility for abuse and neglect.

More recently, a Pulitzer-prize winning reporter for CBS said one nursing home chain has been cited for health violations 10 times in the last two years. It has also faced several lawsuits for negligence.

“One charges that [a nursing home] left a patient on oxygen to breathe from an oxygen tank that was empty or turned off on ‘multiple occasions’ over six weeks. She died of respiratory failure,” CBS said. “Another alleges a [resident] suffered ‘unnecessary pain and suffering’ when left ‘untreated’ for a fractured shin bone for 48 hours and untreated for a fractured thigh bone for a ‘significant length of time.'”

One resident’s son and daughter said their mother fell at least 14 times, was left lying on the floor up to 20 minutes after a fall in the bathroom, and developed bedsores. According to the article, “When [they] took her to an outside doctor for treatment … the assisted-living facility failed to follow the doctor’s wound-care instructions. As a result, the lawsuit charges Marie-Rose developed a Stage IV pressure sore that became infected, required surgical treatment and other procedures, ‘all of which caused or contributed to causing her death.'”

If you have questions about a loved one’s bedsores or sepsis death, attorney Chris Mellino invites you to contact our Cleveland office for a free consultation before Ohio’s statute of limitations expires on your potential claim.

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