If the facts alleged in a recent wrongful death lawsuit against an Oklahoma nursing home prove to be true, perhaps they will serve as a new definition of nursing home neglect.
The recently filed wrongful death lawsuit alleges that The Vian Nursing Home’s neglect resulted in a patient developing an infestation of maggots in his nose and mouth during his admission to the facility. It is further alleged that the maggot infestation caused the patient’s death because they contributed to a medical condition known as aspiration pneumonia.
The lawsuit filed in Sequoyah County District Court seeks damages for: pain and suffering, medical expenses, funeral expenses, permanent injuries, mental suffering and impairment. Read more about this lawsuit here.
Particularly common in patients with physical disabilities, aspiration pneumonia is caused by breathing food, liquids or vomit into the lungs. Once the lungs fill with fluid or other debris, the lungs tend to swell, breathing becomes difficult and an infection may set in.
Survival rates for patients with aspiration pneumonia are very much dependent upon how quickly staff at the facility make a diagnosis of the condition. Common physical characteristics of aspiration pneumonia include: chest pain, foul smelling sputum, sputum containing pus or blood, fever or wheezing.
Once staff become aware of the physical problems associated with aspiration pneumonia, they should alert the patients physician and conduct further tests to confirm the diagnosis. Common tests to assist in the diagnosis of aspiration pneumonia include: blood culture, x-ray or the chest, arterial blood gas test, CT scan of the chest, and / or sputum culture.
Depending on the severity of the pneumonia and the patients overall physical strength will likely dictate the type of treatment. Usually pneumonia is treated with some type of antibiotics. However, in situations where there is a delay in diagnosis or in situations where a patient may be weak, aspiration pneumonia may cause death.
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