When one is admitted to the hospital, it is always due to a medical condition; either emergent or developing. Whether serious or just for monitoring the hospital and its staff must always remember, the safety of the patient is paramount. Unfortunately, what often happens with those who are laid up is that their body begins to breakdown and develop what is knows as pressure ulcers or “bed sores”.
Bed sores develop when the body is caused to rest in one particular position for too long. As many who are in the hospital have injuries or ailments that restrict movement, hospitals have protocol in place for observing the patient, monitoring any development of bed sores and of course, when seen, enacting a protocal ranging from rotation, to dressing application to adjusting the patient so that part of the body can heal. The development of bed sores is not at all uncommon but with proper medical care and supervision can be avoided. At the very least, any initial sign of a bed sore, can then be treated so as not to cause the spread or further deterioration of the skin. Such bed sores are extremely painful and debilitating.
In pursuing a recent medical malpractice case on behalf of a patient who was in the hospital for unusual abdominal pain, Leav & Steinberg, LLP was asked to investigate how the patient could have developed not just stage 1 bed sores but sores that progressed all the way to a stage 4. Sadly our client passed away only a few months after developing the bed sores, but the family was distraught that he could have endured such a horrific and painful ending to his life, despite being under the constant care and supervision of what was supposed to be trained nurses and doctors.
In this recent case, associate Vincent Provenzano, took a close look at the entire medical chart. In addition, we retained experts in both internal medicine as well as nursing to determine if proper protocal was followed. Of interest, was that upon discharge the first time from the defendant hospital, they noted a sacral ulcer but failed to advise the initial rehabilitation of this in his transfer. Upon return the ulcer was in the same stage, having been found by the rehabilitation center and treated. Sadly, upon return and read mission to the subject hospital that sacral ulcer deteriorated from a stage 1 to a stage 4.
We were able to speak with family members who corroborated entries in the record that their loved one had been complaining that the pain was getting worse and it really hurt to lay in bed. Yet, the entry of the hospital staff, had many gaps in observing or treating this continuing debilitating condition.
Though we placed the case into litigation shortly after being retained, it was only after we were sent to start the trial and after advising the defendant hospital that we would be able to prove a lack of proper care, that they resolved the matter for a confidential sum. His estate will have some justice knowing that those responsible for causing such horrific pain over his last few months would have to pay for their medical error.