Failure to Prevent and Treat Pressure Ulcers/Bed Sores Leads to Death

The daughter of a Michigan woman recently settled a case against a nursing home and hospital for a confidential amount after her father died following a long battle with sepsis, precipitated by the development of bed sores while she was being cared for by health care providers in the two facilities.  The decedent, Jessie Butler, was 85 at the time of her admission to the hospital for a total knee replacement.  According to the complaint, at the time of his admission, Mrs. Butler was active and had no bed sores / skin ulcers / pressure ulcers.  Mrs. Butler remained at the hospital for about a month and half.  She was subsequently discharged to a nursing home.  By the time of her discharge, Mrs. Butler had developed several skin ulcers on her backside.  Despite treatments at the nursing home, those ulcers progressed to a Stage 3 and Stage 4 grade (out of 4).  She was subsequently readmitted to the hospital where she underwent multiple surgeries in an attempt to treat the sores.  Despite these treatments, Mrs. Butler developed sepsis and died about 3 months letter.   Mrs. Butler's daughter subsequently sued both institutions alleging that her mother should never have been allowed to develop bed sores, should have been properly treated for the sores and should not have died. 

At STSW, our lawyers have successfully recovered hundreds of thousands of dollars for clients whose loved ones have died as a result of a long, painful battle with bedsores / pressure ulcers and sepsis.  Today, it is generally recognized in the health care industry that a bed sores / pressure ulcer is a preventable condition that does not occur in the absence of negligence whether the patient be in a hospital setting or nursing home  Insurers now refer to bed sores as a "never" event, meaning they should never happen except in very limited circumstances. Specifically, it is understood that patients who are bedridden because of an injury or while rehabilitating an injury must be "turned" or repositioned several times a day to prevent bed sores from occurring, require special mattresses and foam support to allow air to circulate around a patient's entire body and prevent the body from lying on one pressure point only.  Moreover, if a bed sore develops, certain clear protocols for how to treat the sore medically and/or surgical including the application of certain types of cream and/or surgical debridement of the dead tissue. 

Bed sores are often graded on a scale of 1-4 with grade 4 being the most serious.  Grade 4 bed sores are characterized by dead / necrotic tissue / blackened tissue around the bed sore and an open wound that often extends all the way to the bone.  While patients do not succomb to the bed sore itself, they often contract severe systemic infections such as c-difficile that quickly and painfully leads to their death. 

 If you or a loved one has developed a pressure sore that resulted in serious illness or death, call our legal team for a free consultation at 410-385-2225 or visit our website to set up your free consultation as you likely have an actionable lawsuit.