Occasionally I receive emails and comments from blog readers asking what ‘really’ constitutes nursing home neglect. Its easy to point to definitions, but the best explanations usually come by way of example.
Yesterday, I was reviewing the chart of a 70-year-old lady who resident who died in a Chicago nursing home. The lady who died from complications following a severe burn on her leg due to contact with a wall-mounted radiator.
An investigation by state nursing home investigators verified that the woman’s bed was jammed so close to the radiator that it had repeatedly come in contact with the bed, mattress and the woman’s body (there were several burns noted on her right side). Despite the facilities own documentation of problems due to keeping the bed too close to the radiator, the bed was kept in place for months before the woman sustained a severe burn.
Four months after the ‘radiator problems’ had been initially noted, this woman sustained a third-degree burn to a large portion of her lower leg. Conservative burn treatment was unsuccessful in healing the large leg burn and ultimately the woman required a skin graft.
The woman underwent several weeks of successful burn treatment in a hospital. However, the woman was ultimately moved back to the original nursing home where she was injured and quickly contracted an infection. Within two weeks of moving back to the nursing home, the woman died.
In this case, the nursing home resident was a victim of neglect on so many occasions, it is literally difficult to keep track. Nonetheless, the point is not how many times the facility failed to properly care and assess the patient, but rather how easily preventable the injury and subsequent death were.
Related Nursing Home Law Center LLC Blog Posts On Nursing Home Burns
Web Resources For Burn Victims