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It is hard to say that there is a “typical” case of mistreatment in nursing homes, because accidents of all kinds occur quite frequently. However, if one were to pick a “standard” example of nursing home neglect, then it would likely be the development of pressure sores by vulnerable seniors—often contributing to death.
This is the case because no other injury develops as much in senior residents and is as directly associated with the care received (or not received) than pressure ulcers (also known as bed sores or pressure sores). In other words, problem with medication, for example, leads to injury for many residents, but not all of those problems are related to neglect or abuse. Pressure sores, on the other hand, generally do not develop at all unless the care received by the resident is substandard. Proper hydration, nutrition, re-positioning, bathing, and other facets of decent caregiving is usually enough to prevent these painful and damaging injuries from developing.
Unfortunately, it is often only when it is too late—and a resident is rushed to the hospital for a serious medical emergency—that the problem is uncovered. In many instances an ailing resident will have their sores noticed by medical caregivers. But by the time this happens the senior may already be on the downhill. It is not uncommon for residents to pass away shortly after their injuries of this nature are discovered.
Many families who discover that their loved one had pressure sores upon their death seek out legal representation and demand accountability for the mistreatment.
Illinois Nursing Home Lawsuit
For example, earlier this summer our team of lawyers at Levin & Perconti reached a settlement on behalf of a local family who filed suit against the Crestwood Care Center. The victim in the case was a 74-year old former resident of the facility. While at the home the resident developed several pressure sores. Those sores worsened as months went by. Eventually, as is prone to happen, the sores became infected, causing a series of very serious complications. It goes without saying that those living in these facilities are already weakened with various health problems, and so complications from pressure sores often hit them hard.
In this case, the woman developed necrotizing fasciitis and ostemyelitis. On top of that she was dehydrated and malnourished. Taken together the injuries had a serious affect on the senior’s health and well-being.
Eventually the woman’s family filed a lawsuit alleging that the facility in Crestwood was negligent in failing to prevent the bed sores and properly treat them once they had developed. The mistreatment was evidenced by the development of the infection.
This particular case advanced quite far in the process—a trial was scheduled. However, just a few days before that trial an agreement was reached between the parties to settle the matter. The Crestwood nursing home agreed to pay $500,000 to the family to resolve the situation. It represents a successful use of the civil justice system to provide accountability and redress following insufficient care which led to the development of bed sores.
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