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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Client Reviews

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