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Failure To Properly Treat Surgical Wounds Results In Settlement Of Wrongful Death Case With Nursing Home

The Chicago Tribune reported on a story involving the $2 million settlement of a wrongful death lawsuit involving a patient at a Wisconsin nursing home who suffered complications from improperly cared for surgical wounds.  The patient identified as Cynthia Wilms, was admitted to Willows Nursing and Rehabilitation in 2007 following a hip replacement surgery.  According to the families attorney, the facilities failure to treat the wounds resulted in her death.

Willows Nursing and Rehabilitation is owed by mega-operator Extendicare.

My Take:

Failure To Properly Treat Surgical WoundsTo me, there’s no more moving case than the situation where a healthy person enters a skilled nursing facility for short-term rehabilitation only to begin a rapid spiral of deterioration.  Nursing homes need to remember that just because a person may be health and / or relatively young, they still must provide the necessary care for the person and follow the physicians order– including the frequency with which bandages need to be changed.
Facilities need to remember that there really is a reason why the person is at their facility in the first place.  In addition to facility acquired infections, bed sores (also known as: pressure sores, pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers) remain a real threat for short-term rehab patients.  Particularly in patients with limited mobility, facilities need to implement pressure sore prevention techniques such as regular turning and cleaning of patients.

For more information on nursing homes in Chicago look here. For laws related to Illinois nursing homes, look here.

For laws related to Wisconsin nursing homes, look here.

Guideline_for_prevention_of_surgical_site_infection (PDF) Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, April, 1999

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