Nursing Home Bed Sore Lawsuits
Nursing home bed sore lawsuits are some of the most common nursing home lawsuits. Left untreated, these largely preventable pressure ulcers can result in death. These types of ulcers are also known as decubitus ulcers.
Bed sores are a common sign of neglect. With sufficiently trained staff and attentive care, bed sores can be treated before they become deadly, or prevented from forming in the first place. Poor nutrition, infection, soiled diapers, moisture, and edema can all contribute to worsening bedsores – all conditions that also indicate neglect. If your loved one has a serious (Stage 3 or Stage 4) bedsore, you should consider whether the nursing home staff may have neglected his/her care.
Bed Sore Prevention
Preventative care for bedsores is straightforward: Patients should be repositioned every two hours if they are immobile. If a bed sore begins to form, nursing home staff should clean the affected area and apply a bandage if necessary.
Bedsores typically appear on bony areas where body weight applies the most pressure, such as the tailbone, the ankles, and the hips. Nursing home staff should know which patients are at most high risk for developing bed sores. Certain medical conditions, like diabetes, make bed sores more likely. When left untreated, bed sores can damage the skin and result in open wounds. In extreme cases, they penetrate to the bone, leaving layers of muscle exposed.
Bedsores occur in stages. During stage 1, the skin appears red and feels warm to the touch. Eventually, a blister forms and progresses to an open sore. Stage 3 and State 4 bedsores are the deadliest, as the open wound can lead to infection. The presence of a Stage 4 pressure ulcer dramatically increases the chance of death within 180 days.
Nursing Home Bedsore Lawsuits
Nursing home bedsore lawsuits unfortunately often revolve around a wrongful death allegation. Even in cases where bed sores do not result in the death of the patient, they can result in ongoing health conditions that lower the patient’s overall quality of life.
In many cases, the verdict in nursing home bedsore lawsuits concludes that a for-profit nursing home was to blame for the substandard care. Nursing homes have failed to hire enough staff as part of a scheme to defraud Medicare and keep part of the nursing home budget to enrich themselves.
Redding V. Parklands Facility involved the family of a Florida woman suing the Parklands nursing home following allegations that she had died of bed sore as a result of nursing home neglect. The nursing home countered that the patient’s other health issues had caused her death and that the bedsore had been unpreventable. Her family’s representatives alleged that the nursing home had failed to place the woman on a repositioning plan and failed to properly check on her skin. Her death certificate specifically listed the bed sore as her cause of death and in the end, the family won a $2.3 million settlement.
How Much is a Bedsore Lawsuit Worth?
Nursing home bed sore lawsuits regularly settle for six figures. Depending on the degree of injury and the patient’s suffering, these types of cases can settle for over $1 million. Stage 4 bedsores settle for particularly high amounts because the damage done by these types of bedsores is often both preventable and irreversible.
There is no guarantee for a settlement amount, but nursing home neglect lawyers can be instrumental in ensuring the victim of nursing home neglect receives the largest settlement possible.
A nursing home neglect lawyer can give you a better idea of what your case might be worth.
What is a Kennedy Terminal Ulcer?
In certain cases, a nursing home may attempt to avoid liability by describing a stage 4 pressure ulcer as a Kennedy Terminal Ulcer (KTU). These types of rapid-onset ulcers may appear on the skin as a natural part of the dying process. Do not take the nursing home’s word for it if they describe your loved one’s ulcer as a KTU, especially if there were other signs of elder abuse. Kennedy ulcers progress rapidly, and the lawsuit discovery process may be able to uncover indications that the nursing home staff was aware of the ulcer well before the patient succumbed.
Why You Should Pursue a Nursing Home Bed Sore Lawsuit
Elderly people may not always be in a position to advocate for themselves. They may not be able to communicate their discomfort or feel the burning sensation that indicates that a bed sore is forming. Nursing home residents have the right to attentive skin care and care plans that are designed to prevent bedsores. If your loved one died following the formation of a Stage 3 or Stage 4 bedsore, do not take the nursing home at their word that there was nothing they could do to prevent the pressure ulcer. Consult with a nursing home neglect lawyer and consider whether you should pursue a nursing home bed sore lawsuit.