As nursing home lawyers, one of the situations we commonly encounter involve relatively healthy people who enter nursing homes for rehabilitation due to an orthopedic or cardiac conditions— only to encounter more problems during their admission to a facility. In some of these situations, nursing home staff wrongfully assume that many of the prevention programs used for more disabled patients are not necessary.
What makes these type of cases particularly sad is to hear a family member describe the rapid decline in a loved ones physical and psychological condition within a short period of time. In rehab admissions, no one ever suspects that ever suspects that their family member is potentially at risk for injury or illness due to the brief admission.
The New York Daily News reported on one of these situations where serious complications developed with a healthy patient who was admitted to a New York nursing home during a rehab stint. In 2005 Vera Henry was admitted to Sutton Park Center For Nursing and Rehabilitation for therapy for her arm that she injured in a fall. The admission was to last no longer than one month.
Apparently the Sutton Park staff failed to provide Ms. Henry with the therapy she was intended to receive. During her stay Ms. Henry developed an advanced bed sore that ultimately became infected and caused her death.
Not only did the facility fail to provide the physical therapy and bed sore prevention programs, the facility failed to alert Ms. Henry’s family or her physicians of the development of the wound. The bed sore was not discovered until Ms. Henry’s daughter, Patricia Henry, went to change her mother’s clothes and noticed that an advanced bed sore had developed on her mother’s tailbone.
“You could put your whole hand down in her back ,” said Patricia Henry. “You could see the bones and spinal cord. It was like raw meat. Mommy screamed until she could scream no more,” she added.
Ms. Henry’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Sutton Park Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation and its sister facility South Shore Medical Center. The case is pending in Bronx Supreme Court.
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