Mrs. W is an 80-year-old woman who was recently discharged from the hospital after treatment of a severe infection in her leg that took a very long time to heal. Her hospitalization was also complicated by facility-acquired Clostridium difficile infection. Because she was still frail, Mrs. W stayed with her daughter following discharge. One morning, her daughter found Mrs. W lying on the bathroom floor awake but nonresponsive and unable to move. Paramedics took Mrs. W to the emergency department of the nearest hospital, where it was determined that she had had a stroke. Mrs. W was admitted to the intensive care unit. On admission, nurses documented a bruise on her right trochanter that was assumed to have been caused by the fall . Eventually this bruise opened up into a full-thickness pressure ulcer.
Noting that Mrs. W was at high risk for a pressure ulcer, bed sores, and decubitus ulcers prevention interventions and skin protection were instituted immediately. Mrs. W was moderately obese and had diabetes, hypertension, and hypothyroidism. She also had evidence of poor peripheral perfusion, and her “tissue tolerance” was judged to be unusually low. These factors probably played a role in the rapid deterioration of Mrs. W’s bed sore, pressure sore and skin ulcer and the inability of the nursing staff to halt the progression of the injury despite prompt and diligent nursing care. However, Mrs. W’s family was angry about the pressure ulcer, blamed the nursing staff, and initiated a lawsuit against the nurses and the hospital.
About the Author
Attorney Steven Peck has been practicing law since 1981. A former successful business owner, Mr. Peck initially focused his legal career on business law. Within the first three years, after some colleagues and friend’s parents endured nursing home neglect and elder abuse, he continued his education to begin practicing elder law and nursing home abuse law.