C-Diff Infection Alleged To Blame For Death Of Nursing Home Patient

Picture-418A recently filed wrongful death lawsuit claims that clostridium difficile, or commonly known as C. Diff, is to blame for the death of a patient in an Illinois Nursing Home.

The lawsuit alleges two short-term stays at Helia Healthcare facilities (Helia Healthcare of Energy and Helia Healthcare of Benton) are to responsible for the man’s C. Diff infection and development of decubitus ulcers.  It is further alleged that these medical complications contributed to the man’s death.

Despite the fact that the man had a prior episode of C. Diff, and was at an increased risk for return of the infection, the nursing homes failed to recognize tell-tale signs of the infection including:

  • Poor appetite
  • Poor fluid intake
  • Diarrhea

It wasn’t until the man had long been struggling with signs of the infection did the facility send him to the hospital for treatment.

C. Diff and Nursing Homes

C. Diff s a bacterial infection that can cause diarrhea and serious intestinal conditions (such as colitis – inflammation of the colon) and even death.  Though contracting C. Diff may be a relatively common occurrence (there are an estimated 3 million cases reported annually), C. Diff involving nursing home patients is especially problematic due to the fact that many elderly patients have compromised immune systems and are already in a weakened state.

C. Diff bacteria are are contagious and can be passed through the feces of an infected person and can spread to food, surfaces, and objects when infected patients and other nursing home staff do not wash their hands thoroughly.  Proper sanitation techniques such as thorough cleaning and hand washing is crucial in order to prevent the bacteria from getting spread to other patients.  Spores of C. Diff can survive for months unless facilities to a proper job sanitizing patient rooms and common areas such as bathrooms and cafeterias.

Related Nursing Home Law Center LLC Blog Entries:

Left Untreated, Stomach Aches Can Be Deadly For Elderly Nursing Home Patients

Failure To Monitor Bowel Movements In Nursing Home Patients Can Lead To Impacted Bowels

What is a surviving spouse entitled to in a wrongful death lawsuit against a nursing home?

Spotlight On: Helia Healthcare of Urbana

42 Illinois Nursing Homes Cited In 4th Quarter of 2009 For Violations Related To Patient Care

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Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial. Lisa
After I read Jonathan’s Nursing Home Blog, I decided to hire him to look into my wife’s treatment at a local nursing home. Jonathan did a great job explaining the process and the laws that apply to nursing homes. I immediately felt at ease and was glad to have him on my side. Though the lawsuit process was at times frustrating, Jonathan reassured me, particularly at my deposition. I really felt like Jonathan cared about my wife’s best interests, and I think that came across to the lawyers for the nursing home. Eric