The team of nursing home abuse lawyers at Lipkin & Higgins was contacted by the adult children of L.W., an 80-year-old woman who moved into a nursing home with her husband due to her inability to care for herself. She was completely dependent upon the nursing home staff for care. While living at the nursing home she developed a large bedsore (decubitus ulcer) on her sacrum - the area on the back of her body immediately below her belt line. She also developed additional bedsores on each of her heels. Bedsores typically develop when people lay or sit in the same position for significant periods of time. Once they form they can be quite challenging to heal - especially in the sick or elderly.
Under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act, a resident must be provided with care and treatment that is free of neglect. In other words, the care and treatment provided to the resident of a nursing home must meet the individual resident’s physical and emotional needs. Failure to do so, where an injury occurs, may violate the resident’s rights, and make the nursing home liable for damages and attorney’s fees. This duty extends to preventative measures for bed sores, and proper treatment once they have formed.
Some bedsores are thought to be unpreventable. Nursing homes argue that a resident’s comorbidities often make bedsores difficult to avoid, rather than result from neglect. Most bedsores, however, can be avoided if nursing staff control the resident’s dietary intake and shift the resident every two (2) hours, or by placing the resident on a special bed, as required by Medicare and other authoritative bodies.
In this case, L.W. entered a nursing home without a history of breakdown in her skin. The nursing home failed to take adequate precautions to avoid the development of bedsores and, after staff noticed that a bedsore had begun to form, failed to act in any way in order to care for it for several weeks. As a result, the bedsore worsened and the resident had to undergo multiple surgeries and hospitalizations due to the infections she developed as a result.
We sued the nursing home on behalf of three (3) adult surviving children and obtained a $325,000.00 settlement three (3) weeks prior to trial.
Regardless of age or health, everyone deserves to be treated properly and as a living breathing human being. This is especially true in situations involving nursing home residents - those most often dependent upon the care of others and most at risk. If your loved one has experienced negligence and is injured, don't hesitate to contact our office.