Sadly, the development of pressure sores during an admission to a nursing home has become a way of life at some facilities. Despite their prevalence, they are simply not a consequence of ‘old age’. Rather, the majority of circumstances where a patient develops a pressure sore during a nursing home admission is a result of the facilities inattention to the individuals’ care needs.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC represents Chicago nursing home patients who have developed bed sores during an admission. Our attorneys have had success prosecuting nursing home bed sore cases involving skilled nursing facilities across Illinois. Several our cases have resulted in seven figure recoveries from nursing homes where the wounds originated. If you are concerned about a loved one's bed sore at a nursing facility, contact our office for a free case review.
Factors Contributing to the Development of Pressure Sores in Illinois Nursing Home Patients
Today, we see some of the most vulnerable members of society living in shameful conditions that significantly increase their chances of developing pressure sores. Many of these poor conditions include:
- Patients left in bed or wheelchairs for extended period of time
- Chemically sedated patients
- Patients sitting in their urine and feces
- Patients not getting sufficient nutrition or hydration
This can be attributed to either just poor care or neglect, or the facility is understaffed to the point where nursing staff is unable to handle the workload. Either way, these residents deserve better treatment from those who are paid to care for them. Their have been estimates of up to 90% of nursing homes are under-staffed.
A Legal Duty to Protect Nursing Home Patients From Developing Bed Sores During Their Admission
The prevention and treatment of pressure sores during admission to nursing homes is not just humane, it is also the law!
In 1987, Congress passed The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) with the intention of protecting nursing home patients from inferior care and neglect. In exchange for acceptance of Medicare funding (which funds over 90% of nursing homes), facilities must implement and comply with federal regulations pertaining to the development of pressure sores at their facilities.
The regulations, commonly referred to as ‘F-Tags’ govern all aspects of nursing home care. F-Tag 314 (codified as 42 C.F.R.483.25(c)), specifically relates to pressures sores (also referred to as: bed sores, pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers):
Based on the comprehensive assessment of a resident, the facility must ensure that:
(1) A resident who enters the facility without pressure sores does not develop pressure sores unless the individual’s clinical condition demonstrates that they were unavoidable; and
(2) A resident having pressure sores receives necessary treatment and services to promote healing, prevent infection and prevent new sores from developing.
A Lapse in Care, a Real Problem for Nursing Home Patients
Even with these clearly delineated responsibilities, nursing home patients are at risk for developing pressure sores due to facilities inadequate care. Today, many nursing homes have elected to put their corporate profits over the care of their patients. Under-staffing and inadequate training has become rampant in the industry.
Considering that most pressure sores can be prevented, it is abhorrent that so many nursing home residents suffer from this condition. According to the Center for Disease Control, more than 1 out of 10 nursing home patients have a pressure sores, an estimated 11%. The majority of these are Stage 2 pressure sores, which means the sore has generally broken the skin and has progressed from the early stages of the ulcer. 30% of the sores are a Stage 3 or higher, putting the resident at risk of other medical and health concerns.
Nursing Home Cases and Claims Involving Bed Sores
$250,000 Settlement for Elderly Man in Cook County, Illinois
This lawsuit was brought in Chicago, Illinois on behalf of an elderly man. The man was eighty-seven at the time of these events. He lived at a local nursing home. His doctor gave the home instructions to ensure that he did not get bed sores. Then, the nursing home had the obligation to follow those instructions and take all necessary steps to prevent bedsores from emerging. That is not what happened here. The man got a bedsore on his sacrum. Eventually, an infection took hold and doctors had to perform debridement surgery. He died just a few months after these developments unfolded. His lawyers argued in their complaint that the bedsores led to or were the reason why he died. Also, they cited these injuries as a source of his aggravation and pain. They requested compensation on the estate’s behalf for his harms, passing, and expenses. In a private settlement, the estate recovered $250,000.
Woman in Chicago Recovers $380,000 in Bed Sore Case
The victim in this bedsore lawsuit was ninety-two. Prior to this incident, she had a number of critical health issues. Most of them stemmed from a stroke. She also had dementia. At some point, a bedsore popped up along her sacrum. It got very bad. The sore grew to Stage IV. Then, it became infected. Doctors needed to debride the area in order to prevent further damage. Also, they inserted a wound vac. The woman racked up over $30,000 in medical bills in order to repair the area. She sued the nursing home where the events transpired. The lawsuit complained that the home did not take measures to prevent the emergence and spread of the bedsores. It stated that other homes would have done this, and the defendant was negligent for failing to do so. It sought damages for her pain, suffering, bills, and disfigurement. In a private settlement agreement, the plaintiff obtained $350,000 in compensation.
Man Settles with Nursing Home for $837,500 after Bedsores Pop Up
The plaintiff in this Chicago, Illinois (Cook County) case was eighty-four. He was in relatively good health prior to entering the nursing home in question. He needed to rehab a bit after having a minor surgical back operation. The man was just supposed to be there for two or three weeks. After these surgeries, it is incredibly important for staff to rotate the patient regular. They need to prevent the person’s body from sustaining long periods of pressure, friction, or shearing. The staff at this nursing home failed to do that. Consequently, bedsores popped up along his spine, grew to Stage Three, and then got infected. To correct this problem, doctors needed to operate on the area and treat the bed sores. That procedure is known as debridement. All in all, his medical bills were over $500,000. He sought this much and more in court for the pain, scarring, and other damage the home’s negligence caused him. He ended up getting $837,500 in total from a settlement with the Illinois nursing home.
Elderly Woman Sues Nursing Home after Getting Bed Sores
This case was brought on behalf of an 83-year-old woman. She lived in an Illinois nursing home in LaGrange. Her mobility was limited. She needed help from the nursing staff to move around the facility and reposition herself throughout the day. It appears that she did not get this assistance. A bedsore appeared on the sacrum part of her spine. The dimensions of the sore were a little more than three centimeters by three centimeters by 1 centimeter. It eventually became infected and needed to be operated on in order to stop further damage. She sued the nursing home. She alleged that the existence and development of the bedsore was clear evidence of the home’s negligence. She complained that its negligence caused her pain, expenses and disfigurement. Her claim stated that the home should pay her compensation for these damages and more. In the end, the two sides settled the matter for a reported $300,000.Nursing Home Pressure Sore Lawyers in Chicago, Illinois
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has successfully prosecuted cases involving the development of pressure sores during Chicago nursing home admissions and is well versed in using all applicable state and federal laws to prosecute our clients cases. If your loved one developed a pressure sore during an admission to a nursing home, there is a good chance the facilities negligent care may have contributed to the situation. Our Chicago bed sore attorneys are experienced in prosecuting these cases for maximum value in the most expeditious manner possible.
Resources regarding the treatment, prevention and statistics concerning bed sores in nursing homes:
- Pressure Ulcers Among Nursing Home Residents: United States, 2004
- Why We Need a Strong Civil Justice System
Related Materials From Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC:
- Family Blames Nursing Home For Mother’s Infected Pressure Ulcers & Death
- Illinois Nursing Home Fails To Learn From Its Own Errors After Patients Continually Develop Pressure Sores
- What are nursing homes required to do to prevent bed sores?
- Are the development of bed sores during a nursing home admission an indication of nursing home neglect?
Information For Nursing Home Litigators:
The successful prosecution a nursing home negligence lawsuit involving a patient who developed pressure sores during an admission to a facility is dependent upon obtaining information specific to how a nursing home is operated and the policies in place to identify and treat pressure sores. Here are some discovery requests that our office has successfully used in the prosecution of bed sore lawsuits involving nursing homes.