There was a recent case settlement involving Massachusetts nursing home neglect and abuse, which should serve as a cautionary warning to anyone who has a loved one living in a nursing home anywhere. It isn’t a pretty story.
A woman was admitted to a Massachusetts nursing home in August of 2004. Two months later, she was found in bed with a spiral fracture of the left tibia and a fracture of the left fibula. Since she was found in her own bed, how this injury could have happened was a mystery, to say the least. An inquiry determined the already obvious conclusion that the patient could not have produced these injuries herself. Despite the inquiry, no definitive alternate explanation could be produced. File that under “Stinks to the high heavens, but we can’t prove who did it.”
The fractures required hospitalization and casting of the woman’s leg. When she was returned to the nursing home, she very predictably became immobilized due to her leg being in a cast. As a result of this immobility, she developed a pressure ulcer on her lower back, and also very predictably, a urinary tract infection. She also suffered from dehydration. If the average person knew how common and predictable this downward series of events is in a nursing home environment, they’d become quite upset. It’s how 95% of nursing home patients eventually die. It’s awful – both to see and to describe. I can only shudder to think of what it would be like to actually suffer through this kind of experience. I can’t imagine that most people would not prefer death long before that happens.
In late August 2005, the patient’s family transferred her to a second nursing home, apparently hoping that she would receive better treatment. Sadly, this poor woman was again the victim of nursing home neglect: She was allegedly was not turned and repositioned properly, which – very predictably – caused the pressure ulcer to become infected. As if things couldn’t have been made more emiserating, she also was also dehydrated and malnourished (as she was in the previous nursing home.) After all these horrid and undignified experiences, the woman died as a direct result of the infected pressure ulcer in November of that year. That’s a nice way of saying “sepsis,” which is an even nicer, more clinical way of saying that her entire bloodstream and body were infected with bacteria, and she died burning of fever.
That’s an awful way to describe things like this, isn’t it? But it’s true, and the far more awful truth -the one too many people don’t want to hear – is how often it takes place in nursing homes across Massacusetts and across the United States every day. Yes, there are many nurising home operators that are responsible and ethical, and who do the best they can to hire the best, most patient and attentive staff they can. But there are an equal or greater number of nursing homes who do just the opposite.
If you have a loved one in a nursing home and suspect that he or she may be the victim of nursing home neglect or abuse, contact a Massachusetts nursing home abuse and neglect attorney, soon. The more legal information that you are armed with , the better off your loved one will be.