Articles Posted in Infections

A Chicago federal judge sent a lawsuit against the nursing home, Petersen Health Care, back to the state court after the defendant failed to persuade the judge that it had acted at the direction of the federal government to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Anita Martin, who was a resident of Illinois, sued the elder care company, Petersen Health Care, after the death of her mother, Marlene Hill. Hill lived in the Bloomington Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center, which was operated and run by Petersen Healthcare.

Hill unfortunately died on May 15, 2020 with “COVID-19” listed as a substantial contributing factor,”  the lawsuit stated.

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Louise High was admitted to Brandywine Senior Living at Upper Providence.  At the time of her admission, High suffered from dementia, hypertension, a bladder tumor and gait dysfunction. Because of these conditions, she was required to receive help with medication and activities of daily living.

During the second week of High’s admission to this facility, the staff at the nursing home found her on the floor of her room, clutching her right hip.  Later that day, she fell on her right side and vomited.

She was taken to a hospital emergency room where she was diagnosed as having a fractured hip and sepsis. Her condition continued to decline. She died several months later and was survived by her two adult sons.

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Ms. Doe, receiving home health care, was an amputee who experienced constant pain at her stump site. To care for her condition, she was given pain medication. She had an epidural Port-A-Cath implanted under the skin of her chest. Ms. Doe was discharged from a hospital and planned to receive several weeks of home care from visiting nurses who would be assigned to clean the new port site, change her dressing and check for signs of infection.

Four days after Ms. Doe’s port was inserted, a visiting nurse, Roe, allegedly noted that the port site looked tender and had drainage. Roe allegedly changed Ms. Doe’s dressing. She did not contact Ms. Doe’s doctor about these findings.

During a later visit, Ms. Doe allegedly told Roe that she had decreased sensation to her bladder. Roe allegedly changed Ms. Doe’s dressing but did not return to see her for about five days. During this time, Ms. Doe’s port site was red and swollen. She complained of decreased sensation to the lower part of her body.

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Charles Jackson lived at Care Pavilion Nursing & Rehabilitation Center for more than four years. During his time there,  he allegedly suffered more than 14 undocumented falls. After one fall, he was found on a bathroom floor and was taken to a hospital where he underwent a hip replacement.

Jackson was returned to the nursing home but was transferred back to the hospital less than one month later.  There, he was diagnosed as having sepsis and severe dehydration.

He died just over two weeks later from respiratory distress, sepsis and a prosthetic hip infection. Jackson, 83 at the time of his death, was survived by his adult daughter.

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Matthew Farrell suffered traumatic brain injury after being injured in a motor vehicle crash. He was admitted to Solterra at Castle Rock, a skilled nursing facility.

At the time of the admission, he could not move his legs. He was completely dependent on the facility for his hygiene, medical treatment and activities of daily living. The nursing facility allegedly did not reposition him regularly or keep his skin clean and dry, which left him with pressure sores on his buttocks, heels and lower back. He also became malnourished, which caused his wounds to worsen.

Within two months of admission, he was transferred to a hospital, suffering from a high fever, nausea and vomiting. At the hospital, he was diagnosed as having severe sepsis, necessitating surgical debridement, placement of a wound vac, removal of portions of his coccyx bone and surgery of a muscle flap repair.

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Thelma Brown, 90, was suffering from dementia and required the use of a wheelchair. While a resident at Brookdale Charlestown Nursing Home, she suffered multiple falls and developed a urinary tract infection that led to sepsis and ultimately caused her death. She was survived by her adult daughter.

Brown’s daughter, on her behalf, sued the nursing home’s owner alleging that it chose not to properly monitor her mother’s well-being, provide sufficient staff in training, and modify her care plan when her health deteriorated.

The defendant denied the allegations and maintained that Brown’s injuries came from her poor medical condition and that her injuries were not a cause of her death.

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Countryside Care Centre was a nursing home in Aurora, Ill., a suburb west of Chicago. On Dec. 31, 2011, Countryside Care, LLC transferred the nursing home and the operation of it to Symphony Countryside, LLC. All employees were terminated with Symphony, which then had sole discretion on rehiring.

The sale agreement stated that “[n]othing contained herein shall be construed as forming a joint venture or partnership between the parties hereto.” Symphony was authorized and licensed to run the nursing home starting in January 2012.

On April 16, 2014, Lillie Michelet was admitted to Presence Mercy Medical Center with shortness of breath and chest pains. She was diagnosed with congestive heart failure.

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Morley Sprague was 57  and suffering from end-stage multiple sclerosis and had a history of urinary tract infections (UTI) and degenerative joint disease.  After being hospitalized for treatment for sepsis and UTI, he was admitted to the North Canyon Care Center, a nursing home that offered wound care services.

Unfortunately, within a week, Sprague’s two existing pressure ulcers worsened from Stage I and II to Stage IV. In addition, he developed a Stage IV pressure sore on his right buttock.

After he left the nursing home, he required antibiotics and other continued medical care for his wounds, which failed to heal. Two years after his discharge, Sprague died of sepsis that resulted from an infected pressure ulcer. He was survived by his wife and three adult children.

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Contaminated syringes have been associated with the outbreak of bacteria that infected nearly 150 people since August 2016. Fifty-two of those cases were in New Jersey. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “the majority of these cases occurred in patients residing at long-term care or rehabilitation facilities who were receiving intravenous (IV) fluids and/or antibiotics through central venous catheters.”

The outbreak of the bacteria from the IV syringes may be linked to six deaths in New York and Pennsylvania. Of the 58 total nursing home facilities that had been affected, the most were located in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. There were several reports of similar outbreaks in Delaware and Maryland.

The bacteria is usually referred to B. cepacia. In most cases, the infections were caused by a pre-filled saline flush syringe, which the manufacturer voluntarily recalled on Oct. 4, 2016. The CDC announced on Nov. 9, 2016 that all nursing homes and other medical facilities should stop using the items, sequester any items in the facility and report all infections to local and state health authorities.

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Robert Lankford, 69, underwent abdominal surgery. He was admitted to Life Care Center Pensacola for his recovery period. One of the nursing facility’s nurses mistakenly removed Lankford’s skin staples, which led to a wound infection. Lankford required a second surgery to close the wound.  Afterward, he was returned to Life Care Center where he was subsequently diagnosed with having C. difficile infection. Lankford later died of unrelated causes.

The Lankford family and estate filed a lawsuit against the nursing home and a related corporate entity claiming liability for its nurse’s blatant mistake of removing the staples and for the nursing home’s choosing not to adequately have in place infection control resources. The Lankford family maintained that had the nursing home been equipped properly, the infection could have been controlled, saving Lankford’s life.

The jury’s verdict was $303,300. The attorney representing the Lankford family was Clay Mitchell.

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