When a 73-year-old woman entered a nursing home in 2005 after she fell and injured her arm she thought she would receive therapy and be home in a month.
Two years later, after repeated denied requests to go home, the grandmother of 15 died in the nursing home, partially because of a horrific, infected bedsore (pressure sore, pressure ulcer, decubitus ulcer), according to her family and court records.
The woman's daughter filed a lawsuit against the nursing home soon after her mother's death in August 2007.
The daughter said she and her children visited her normally active mother every day at the nursing home, often for eight hours.
"There would be a nurse and she would run between floors and they had no time," Henry said. "Nobody checks on her. Nobody feeds her. Every time we asked to take her home there was a reason we couldn't."
The woman - who was a foster mother, baby-sitter for her great-grandchildren, family chef and cashier at a local senior center until she fell - soon became so weak she was immobile.
One day, her daughter went to change her mother's gown and noticed the bedsore, already in an advanced stage, over her mother's tail bone.
Within days the sore was infected and she heard her mother's last words - screams - as doctors scraped at blackened skin.
"You could put your whole hand down in her back," she said. "You could see the bones and spinal cord. It was like raw meat. Mommy screamed until she couldn't scream no more."
Bedsores, or pressure ulcers, are lesions caused by unrelieved pressure on the skin. They are largely preventable by making sure a patient is regularly moved or turned every two hours, but are also often fatal once infected.
"I'm sorry I saw it, but I'm glad I saw it," the daughter said. "They weren't telling us how bad it was and my mother couldn't tell me anymore." For more, read the story.
Posted on Sat, September 12, 2009
by Robert Carter