For thousands of patients every year, a hospitalization turns into a lingering nightmare when they develop pressure sores during their stay. Some hospitals have put a premium on medical research and technology at the expense of providing hands-on care for patients overall medical needs.
When it comes to patients who have acquired a bed sore during an admission to a Chicago hospital, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC is committed to prosecuting the case to the fullest extent possible under Illinois medical negligence law. Before you accept that your loved one's hospital bed sore was unavoidable, contact our office who can advise you of your legal options. Talk to us now for a free case review.
Hospital’s Responsibility to Look After Patients’ Medical Care Needs
Hospital staff must remember that many of their patients' medical conditions result in a physical disability that increases their risk of developing pressure sores. Further, providing quality medical care requires them to assess the patient as a whole—as opposed to treating the acute condition for which they may have originally been admitted for.
Recognizing the importance of hospitals to take steps to prevent the development of pressure sores in their patients, Medicare has included stage 3 and 4 pressure sores on its list of ‘Never Events‘—or complications that are so easily preventable with basic attention and care that they simply should never occur in the first place. Beginning in 2008, Medicare as well as some major health insurers, have refused to reimburse hospitals for any charges related to the care of hospital-acquired pressure sores.
When hospitals fail to provide the basic care for their patients and in turn the patient develops pressure sores (interchangeably used with: bed sores, pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers), during their hospital stay, the patient or his family may be entitled to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit against the facility for the resulting pain, disability and medical expenses.
Pressure Sores Increasing in a Variety of Settings
In the last almost two decades, even though technology and medical breakthroughs are common, the incidence of pressure sores has actually increased. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the total amount of hospital stays due to pressure sores has increased almost 80% since 1993. In 2006 there were over half a million hospital stays for pressure sores as the diagnosis.
Although some of these cases were people who were admitted to the hospital with a pressure sore as the primary reason for admission or as a co-existing condition, there are also “secondary” pressure sores that may have resulted from the hospital stay itself. In fact, 90% of the pressure sore hospital stays were patients admitted for other treatment.
In comparison to all other conditions treated at a hospital, pressure sores are more likely to result in admission to a long-term facility, such as a nursing home. They are also more likely to have fatal results. Patients admitted in to a nursing home with a pressure sore have a 50% morality rate at the end of one year, versus 27% in those without pressure sores.
Hospital Malpractice Awards
$5,000,000 Settlement; Hospital Malpractice; Lake County, Illinois
This lawsuit was brought by the estate of a woman who passed away while in the care of a hospital. She was forty-seven at the time. She had three children. During her stay at the facility, doctors put her on a course of opioid treatments. The specific medications included Norco and OxyContin. She was also put on a regimen of testing. From one of those tests, the radiologist reported possible ileus. That is a bowel complication that prevents proper contractions. It limits the body’s ability to remove waste. Her primary-care physicians did not note this report or the fact that actually did have ileus. Not long later, she died from this issue. Lawyers for the estate argued the hospital and medical professionals were responsible. They sought compensation for the tragedy of her death, the toll it would place on her family, as well as lost income and medical bills. The defendants agreed to settle the matter for $5 million in order to end the case. Of that total, $500,000 was allocated for damages related to the survival action. The rest was compensation for the wrongful death cause of action.
$475,000 Settlement; Hospital Malpractice; Will County, Illinois
The wife of a recently-deceased man brought this hospital negligence case in Will County, Illinois. Her husband was just forty-eight when he died. It all started when he underwent surgery for a tibia fracture. Doctors released him after his stint in rehab. However, they did not treat him for deep-vein thrombosis even though he was at high risk for that issue. They could have given him anti-coagulants or other medications, but they did neither of these things. Consequently, he suffered a pulmonary embolism and died one week after his discharge. His wife alleged the doctors negligently cared for him by, as just one example, not giving him proper medications. Also, she claimed the hospital did not employ a sufficient monitoring or supervisory system. In her opinion, these errors caused his death. At trial, the defendants illustrated that the man’s cardiomyopathy would have reduced his life expectancy anyways. This sped up the process for settlement because it lessened the plaintiff’s case for negligence and wrongful death. However, the woman still did articulate several stark errors on the defendants’ side. This explained the relatively high settlement figure of $475,000.
$950,000 Settlement; Hospital Malpractice; Macon County, Illinois
This case was filed against a hospital and certain doctors as well as some of the treating staff. The patient was a 40-year-old man. He had a number of serious medical issues including diabetes, obesity, and lung problems. Doctors needed to drain a cyst that had formed on his body. To do that, they needed to sedate him. However, they gave him too much sedation liquid. That error caused him to go into cardiopulmonary arrest. Eventually, he suffered a brain injury from a lack of oxygen and died. His wife sued the hospital and the doctors. She claimed they were negligent, and that negligence took his life. Her complaint listed how the defendants’ actions veered from the norm within the medical community. She offered that they could provide no explanation for this deviation. As it turned out, they did not have to in court because the parties agreed to settle. The plaintiff received $950,000 in this Illinois hospital malpractice lawsuit.
$3,000,000 Settlement; Hospital Malpractice; Will County, Illinois
The patient in the middle of this dispute was just five. She needed blood transfusions on a regular basis due to a genetic condition. On one particular occasion, she was sick at the time of the treatment. However, her doctors did not notice this fact. The combination of her illness and the transfusion had grave consequences. Immediately, she showed signs of respiratory distress. Her doctors intubated her but that did not help. She did not make it long. She passed away in the care of the same hospital. Survived by her father, he decided to sue the hospital. He alleged that they should have checked her general health prior to the transfusion. Then, he claimed this oversight was negligence sufficient to show wrongful death. The defendants filed a reply dismissing liability. They even pressed their case at court. However, at the end of the jury trial, they were more amenable to negotiations. The parties ended the dispute for a reported $3 million. The facility paid roughly $2.7 million of that amount and the primary-care physician paid the rest. Both of these sums were actually paid through the respective defendants’ insurance providers.
A Case of Illinois Medical Malpractice?
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has represented families and individuals in Illinois medical malpractice cases following the development of a pressure sore during a hospitalization. Working with some of the leading doctors and nurses in the field of pressure sore treatment and prevention, our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys can evaluate your case and aggressively prosecute the case when necessary.