May 2011 Archives

A decubitus ulcer/pressure sore is a bed sore caused by unrelieved pressure on the skin that comes from lying or sitting in the same position too long and is associated with pain.   
Unfortunately, once a bedsore progresses to stage 3 and stage 4 and becomes infected, it is difficult to achieve healing and avoid painful and potentially fatal complications.  These individuals may develop osteomyelitis (infection of the bone) and sepsis (blood infection) ultimately resulting in death. 

The standard of care applicable to nursing homes requires the nursing home staff to ensure that a resident entering the facility without pressure ulcers does not develop them unless the resident's clinical condition demonstrates that they were medically unavoidable.  The nursing home staff must also ensure that a resident having pressure ulcers receives necessary and proper wound care treatment and services to promote healing, prevent infection and prevent new ulcers from developing.  The nursing home staff must relieve pressure by turning and repositioning the resident at least every two hours while in bed and every hour while in a Geri-chair or wheelchair, maintain adequate nutrition and hydration, and prevent contractures of the extremities.

Nursing homes oftentimes have pre-printed turning and repositioning forms that are filled out/checked at the end of every shift by nurses who may not personally do the actual turning and repositioning of the patient.  In these circumstances, the nursing home's lawyers may then try to use these forms to support their contention that the patient was turned and repositioned every two hours as ordered by the physician.

In litigating nursing home negligence cases, we have learned that many nursing homes utilize a computer/kiosk record keeping system requiring the nursing home geriatric nursing assistants who provides care (including turning and repositioning) to the patient to make an entry in a computer kiosk each and every time they turned and repositioned a patient.  These computer entries may be even used by registered nurses when they submit monthly MDS (Minimum Data Set) records to the State, but these records may not physically make their way into a patient's chart.  We have encountered situations where the nursing home and their lawyers do not produce these records unless Plaintiffs' counsel propounds discovery requests specifically requesting these computer/kiosk records.  In the event that the nursing home is not subsequently able to produce computer/kiosk records showing that the patient was turned and repositioned every two hours, this will be very powerful evidence of negligence. 
It is therefore advisable to include the following Request in Plaintiffs' Request for Production of Documents in a bedsore/pressure sore/decubitus ulcer nursing home negligence case:

A complete copy of all of Defendant's files regarding Plaintiff including but not limited to medical records, nursing home admission records, computer records, kiosk records, log records or other documents containing written or computer entries regarding Plaintiff made by geriatric nursing assistants, certified nursing assistants or other nursing assistants that were/are maintained separately from Plaintiff's medical records at [insert name of nursing home].

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Please feel free to contact the nursing home neglect attorneys at Dever & Feldstein, LLC at (888) 825-9119 for a free consultation if you believe that a family member or loved one has sustained serious injury or wrongful death as a result of bed sores (also known as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers), nursing home falls, dehydration/malnutrition, medication administration error/prescription mistake, elder abuse or elder neglect.

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This page is an archive of entries from May 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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