Articles Posted in Infections

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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Sophia Alcon, 77, was admitted to Life Care Center of Pueblo, a skilled nursing facility. During the 7 months that she remained there, she suffered various injuries and illnesses, including urinary tract infections, bed sores, dehydration, malnutrition, pain, renal failure and aspiration pneumonia. She was brought to a nearby hospital where a staff medical provider noticed that her vagina was packed with dried feces. She died as a result of her medical conditions and is survived by her 10 adult children.

One of her sons, on her behalf and for the family, sued the nursing home and its corporate affiliates maintaining that they were responsible for her death. In the complaint it was alleged that the nursing home was negligent, was responsible for her wrongful death and was guilty of numerous consumer protection violations. Among other things, the Alcon family alleged that the defendants chose not to properly assess Sophia’s medical needs, formulate an appropriate care plan, provide adequate staffing and properly trained personnel at this skilled nursing facility.

The jury’s verdict of $5.56 million, included $5 million in punitive damages, which are designed to punish the defendants for the abusive treatment to Sophia Alcon.

William Dieser, 58, underwent surgery at St. Anthony’s Medical Center in St. Louis County, Mo. Several days later, he developed a black spot on his coccyx. The black spot turned out to be a Stage IV pressure sore, which required surgery and removal of his coccyx, low back, buttocks and anus. As a result, he required dressing changes and plastic surgery over the next year.

Dieser filed a lawsuit against the hospital claiming that it chose not to prevent and properly treat the pressure sore. He alleged that the hospital staff should have timely turned him and provided adequate nutrition, among other things.

The lawsuit did not allege lost time from work. After the jury deliberated, it entered a verdict of $883,000.

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Cynthia Jaurdon-Simmons underwent neck surgery and was referred to Southern Nursing Home Health for her home-based daily wound care and weekly assessments of her viral infection.

About two months into her care, Southern Nursing Home Health stopped providing services to Jaurdon-Simmons, but the staff did not advise her of this or provide the necessary self-care equipment.

As a result of the lack of care, Jaurdon-Simmons did not receive the wound care that she needed. She suffered continued medical problems; her infection worsened. She sued the home health care agency claiming damages related to her pain and suffering. Before trial, the case was settled for a total of $99,000.

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