July 2012 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/or sepsis (blood infection) ultimately resulting in death. 

Nursing homes develop and implement internal policies and procedures pertaining to the prevention, care, treatment and monitoring of pressure sores /decubitus ulcers.  For instance, such policies and procedures generally require that the nursing home staff must relieve pressure by turning and repositioning residents at least every two hours while in bed and every hour while in a Geri-chair or wheelchair.

Under Maryland law, such policies and procedures may be admissible at trial as evidence of the applicable standard of care in nursing home/bedsore negligence cases.  See Wilson v. Morris, 317 Md. 284 (1989) (finding that  a Day Care Center's patient monitoring policy was admissible evidence that was relevant to the jury's consideration of the appropriate standard of care).

It is therefore imperative that Plaintiffs' attorneys request and receive all relevant policies and procedures from defense counsel in the very early stages of litigation through the use of detailed Request for Production of Documents.  (We regularly serve Defendants with such discovery requests along with the Complaint and initial pleading materials).  Sometimes, it may be necessary to seek Court intervention and/or take depositions of corporate designee witnesses in order to ensure that the nursing home timely produces these materials.  Once received, these policies and procedures should be provided to Plaintiffs' medical expert witnesses in order to assess whether the nursing home followed their own policies and procedures and protocol.  The failure of a nursing home to adhere to their own policies and procedures is important evidence that will be taken into consideration when the nursing home's attorneys and in-house representatives evaluate the claim.  This is also very powerful evidence that can be presented to the jury.

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Please feel free to contact the nursing home neglect lawyers 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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