Patient Suffers Fatal Pressure Ulcer Wounds; Facility Settles

In March 2016, a ninety-four year old male patient who suffered from dementia was admitted to an assisted living facility. In addition to his cognitive limitations, the patient had Parkinsonism and was non-ambulatory. The patient was entirely dependent on the facility staff for all daily living activities, including eating, drinking, and using the bathroom. Upon admission to the facility, the patient had no pressure ulcers and his skin was intact.

As a patient at the assisted living facility, he was permitted to develop severe pressure ulcers on his left heel, left buttock/ischium, and upper/lower sacrum. The left heel pressure ulcer was allowed to deteriorate and was ultimately considered to be unstageable. As a result of left heel pressure ulcer deterioration, the assisted living facility was advised to have the patient’s wound be evaluated at a wound center. The facility failed to have the patient seen at a wound center.

At the same time, the facility permitted the patient to develop a left buttock/ischial pressure ulcer and an upper/lower sacrum pressure ulcer. The wounds continued to deteriorate. Both the left heel pressure ulcer and the buttock/ischial pressure ulcer were described by the patient’s physician as having a “poor prognosis”. Of the three, only the patient’s sacral pressure ulcer was resolved. In addition to the pain involved from the pressure ulcers, the patient was permitted by the facility to experience severe, unintended weight loss of over thirty-five pounds.

In February 2017, the patient’s death was caused directly by complications from his multiple severe pressure ulcers, which, did not heal and improved only marginally before he passed.

The patient’s family contacted our firm to pursue claims against the assisted living facility. We were able to obtain a generous settlement award for the patient’s family.