Patient Develops Pressure Ulcer, Condition Deteriorates; Nursing Home And Hospital Settle

At all times relevant, a 64-year-old patient admitted and discharged intermittently between a hospital and nursing home was at high risk of developing pressure ulcers. Specifically, she sustained a CVA on November 10, 2010 that resulted in generalized left-sided weakness. The patient was also incontinent of bladder and bowel and was entirely dependent on staff for all aspects of her care, including turning and repositioning in bed.

The patient was admitted to the hospital on or about November 29, 2010 following the stroke. She did not have any pressure ulcers on admission. While at the hospital, the patient was permitted to develop a pressure ulcer on her sacrum. On December 3, 2010, she was admitted to the nursing home, where the pressure ulcer reappeared and/or deteriorated. The patient remained at the nursing home until January 14, 2011, when she was returned to the hospital. The patient remained at the hospital until January 18, 2011, when she was transferred back to the nursing home, which documented an “open” sacral pressure ulcer.

The patient remained at the nursing home until approximately February 2, 2011, at which time she was returned to the hospital. On admission to the hospital, the patient's pressure ulcer was described as a "stage 2-3" sacral ulcer. By February 3, 2011, the sacral ulcer had dimensions of 10 cm x 17 cm and the patient had sustained additional wounds on her left and right inner thighs. The patient also developed pressure ulcers over her left and right heels. The patient remained at the hospital until approximately March 2, 2011, at which time she returned to the nursing home.

By March 23, 2011, the patient's sacral pressure ulcer was noted to have dimensions of 10.5 cm x 12.5 cm x 3.4 cm and required surgical debridement. At the nursing home, the patient required antibiotics for suspected infection/osteomyelitis of the sacral wound. By April 26, 2011, the patient’s sacral pressure ulcer had a depth described in her records as a "deep fistful” with yellow slough and purulent drainage.

The patient's medical condition deteriorated as a direct result of her ulcers, the sacral ulcer being the most prominent of those that caused her decline. Specifically, she experienced elevated temperatures, elevated white blood cell counts, and respiratory distress, during which time she became unresponsive to physical or verbal stimuli. On April 28, 2011, the patient was found unresponsive with bloody vomit in her airway, had no pulse, and her pupils were dilated and unreactive. Holloway died on April 28, 2011.

The family contacted us to pursue claims against the nursing home and hospital for failing to provide proper care to prevent and/or treat her pressure ulcers. We were able to obtain a settlement award for the patient’s family.