After a one week stay at Caseyville Nursing and Rehabilitation (IL), Theresa Mary Steiner’s pressure sores significantly deteriorated to the point that she had become ‘septic’ according to a recently filed lawsuit.
The lawsuit claims that on December 12, 2008 Ms. Steiner was admitted to the facility with stage II pressure sores on her buttocks and early stage pressure sores on her heels. Five days later, when Ms. Steiner was discharged, the pressure sores (also known as pressure ulcer, decubitus ulcer or bed sore) had advanced to stage IV and Ms. Steiner had become known as septic. As a result of the sepsis (also referred to as: severe sepsis, sepsis infection, septic shock, severe sepsis, septicemia), Ms. Steiner died.
The lawsuit further alleges that Caseyville Nursing and Rehabilitation was negligent in the following ways:
- Failing to screen Ms. Steiner on admission to the facility
- Failed to have adequate staff to treat Ms. Steiner’s wounds
- Never developed a care plan for Ms. Steiner
- Never notifying Ms. Steiner’s physician as to her condition
With the obvious disclaimer (I don’t know anything about the case other from what is in the newspaper), it would appear as though the Ms. Steiner’s family may have a difficult time winning their case.
As the plaintiff in this matter, Ms. Steiner’s family has the burden to prove their case. Given the fact that Ms. Steiner enter the nursing homes with clearly form pressure sores and the wounds worsened in such a brief period of time, perhaps the damages was done by the time she had entered the facility?
Sepsis and Pressure Sores
With open wounds from pressure sores, bacteria can easily enter the bloodstream and cause and infection in the body. When the infection progresses, it may cause sepsis.
In order to make a diagnosis of sepsis, at least two of the following must occur: a heart rate above 90 beats per minute, hyperventilation (more than 20 breaths per minute) and white blood cell count below below 4000 cells/mm.
Symptoms of sepsis include:
- Low body temperature (hypothermia)
- Loss of ability to appreciate surroundings
- Cool hands and feet
- Organ dysfunction
In order to provide patients with the best chance of recovery, facilities should identify and treat patients as quickly as feasible. If not treated properly, many patients with sepsis die shortly after the condition develops.
Nursing Home Law Center LLC: Sepsis August 7, 2008