For a 57-year-old veteran, a short-term admission to a nursing home in California is proving to be more destructive to his body than serving in the Air Force during the Vietnam War. Like many stroke patients, Rahn Hoskins lost the use of his right side and went to the nursing home affiliated with Fairmont Hospital for assistance to help him resume some of his daily activities– including walking.
A recently filed nursing home neglect lawsuit alleges that the skilled nursing facility was negligent for the sheer lack of care that they provided to Mr. Hoskins. According to a recent article in the Oakland Tribune, the facilities inattentive care ultimately allowed pressure sores to form on Hoskin’s foot which went undiagnosed and treated for several weeks. It is alleged that the delay in providing medical care resulted in the patient developing a systemic infection that ultimately required the amputation of his foot.
Like many stroke patients, the stroke resulted in nerve damage to the side of the body impacted by the stroke which impeded Hoskins ability to perceive pain or appreciate the significance of the pressure sores.
Complications found in stroke patients
Amongst the obvious impaired gross motor skills that frequently make the recovery from a stroke particularly challenging, sensory losses also can result in complications or patient injury. As the case with Mr. Hoskins, the sensory loss likely played a significant role in the development of the pressure sore.
Unlike healthy patients who inherently ‘move’– even as they lay in bed or sit in a wheelchair, stroke patients may be unable to perceive not just actual pain, but also building pressure. In the cases of a patient whom already may be susceptible to developing pressure sores, the bodies inability to perceive pressure only exacerbates the factors known to contribute to the development of pressure sores— shear and force.
Responsibility of staff
Knowing the limitation of stroke patients, nursing home staff should be on the lookout for pressure sores as they develop— and conducting regular body scans to allow for interventions as the wounds develop. In the case of patient, such as Mr. Hoskins, staff need to be removing bandages and supportive leg braces to get a clear view of all pressure points.
Pressure sore lawsuits
As an attorney who has seen many fact patterns similar to what is described above, getting nursing home staff to appreciate the limitations of the patient is a crucial step towards successfully prosecuting your case. Once it has been established that the patient is essentially reliant upon the staff for all assistance, specific omissions can be better addressed.