West Virginia nursing home residents are often not in the best of health and can develop serious or life-threatening medical conditions without any abuse or negligence on the part of nursing home staff. This is true even of Stage I and Stage II bedsores (also known as pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers). Potentially life-threatening Stage III and Stage IV bedsores, on the other hand, almost never develop without negligence a nursing home and its staff being somehow involved.
Last week, a jury recognized that fact and ordered a major national nursing home corporation to pay $3.2 million to the family of an 88-year-old resident who died from complications related to of an infected, baseball-sized bedsore.
Court documents indicate the man became a resident of the Colorado nursing care facility in May 2009. Sixteen months later, however, he had developed a bedsore and gradually stopped eating, drinking or leaving his bed. Prior to those developments, the man had worked for the nursing home as a janitor and had no trouble walking to the cafeteria or other areas of the facility without assistance.
As the man grew more unresponsive and the bedsores worsened, one of the nursing home's staff members became extremely concerned the man would die and told his son what had been happening in October 2010. The son approached the nursing home's administrators and insisted that his father be transported to a hospital immediately, after which a hospital physician also discovered the man was suffering from malnutrition and dehydration too.
The plaintiff's lawsuit alleged that the nursing home and its staff members were negligent in allowing the man's bedsores to progress to that point and minimized the seriousness of the problems in communicating with the family.
The same facility was later inspected and cited by Colorado Health Department officials who found widespread problems among residents, including infections like the one hospital doctors identified as being the indirect cause of death in this nursing home negligence case.
Source: The Denver Post, "$3.2 million award in Rocky Ford nursing home death tied to bedsores," Kirk Mitchell May 2, 2012