When a person lies down in the same position for too long, without moving, they can develop bedsores. Bedsores are common in nursing homes, since staff members do not always give patients the care they need. They do not turn them over or move them in any way, allowing bedsores to develop.
Bedsores are no laughing matter. They can be serious in nature and can even cause death. This was the case for a Florida woman who was in a nursing home. She died from a stage 4 bedsore, which is the most severe of its kind. Her family sued and got some justice and compensation, as a jury handed down a $2.3 million wrongful death verdict.
The woman died in 2021 after staying at Parklands Care Center. She developed the bedsore in December 2020 and died four months later. The woman suffered from multiple health issues, including kidney disease and dementia, so it needed to be determined what caused her death.
The woman’s family alleged that the staff at Parklands Care Center failed to properly care for her. This allowed the bedsore to develop into a stage 4 ulcer and cause her to die.
The lawyer for Parklands Care Center, however, argued that the wound was unavoidable. He claimed that the facility had provided the woman with appropriate care and that she actually died from her other health issues. He also noted that the woman had been treated for a bedsore earlier that same year, in April 2020. That wound had occurred despite appropriate care. The lawyer also noted that the bedsore at issue had been treated at Shands Hospital in Gainesville, and the woman was discharged to another nursing home just before her death. The lawyer claimed that the woman would not have been released from Shands Hospital if the bedsore was septic, infected, or in a condition to cause the woman’s death.
However, the woman’s lawyer countered that the woman’s death certificate specifically listed the bedsore as one of the causes of her death. He argued that the nursing home provided the woman with inadequate care due to understaffing. The woman was not placed on an appropriate repositioning plan. Staff also failed to properly check the woman and did not notice that a mattress made specifically for minimizing bed sores had become deflated.
Jurors were convinced of the nursing home’s negligence and handed down a $2.3 million verdict against Parklands Care Center. The victim’s lawyer says the case helped expose a troubling healthcare issue. Bedsores are becoming more and more common in Florida. Nursing homes try to minimize them, stating that they are unavoidable or unpreventable. Those are just excuses. It is fulfilling for justice to be served and for the nursing home to be held accountable for its negligence, as these cases happen far too often.
Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers, are wounds caused by prolonged pressure to the skin. A bedsore develops when blood supply to the skin is cut off for more than several hours. As the skin dies, the bedsore turns red, then purple. Without treatment, the skin can break open and become infected.
Bedsores are most likely to occur on the heels, ankles, tailbone, and hips. Those who have medical conditions that limit their mobility and cause them to spend most of their time in a bed have the highest risk of bedsores. Many bedsores heal eventually, although it may take many months or even years to do so. Some never heal at all, leading to worsened conditions and even death.
There are four stages of bedsores:
- Stage 1. This is the least severe bedsore. The area looks red and feels warm to the touch. It may be painful. The bedsore may also burn or itch.
- Stage 2. The area looks more damaged and may have an open sore or blister. The wound is very painful and there may be some discoloration.
- Stage 3. The bedsore appearance worsens. The area looks like a crater due to damage below the skin’s surface.
- Stage 4. This is the most severe stage of bedsores. The woman in this case had a stage 4 bedsore. The area is severely damaged and a large wound is present. Muscles, tendons, joints, and even bones may be affected. The bedsore may be infected at this stage.
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Families expect that their loved ones will receive the best care possible in nursing homes, but sadly, that is not usually the case. Many facilities cut corners to pocket as much profit as possible.
If your loved one has suffered serious injuries or death at the hands of a nursing home, you have a legal issue to deal with. The experienced professionals at Brill & Rinaldi, The Law Firm can help you get compensation and justice. To schedule a free consultation, call (954) 876-4344 or fill out the online form. We have offices in Weston, Coral Gables, and Daytona Beach.