Assisted Living Bedsore Lawsuit Results In $12.5M Verdict Against Florida Facility
A Florida jury has awarded $12.5 million in damages following a wrongful death lawsuit brought against an assisted living facility, involving allegations that negligent care of an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s resulted in the development of a fatal bloodstream infection from a bedsore.
The case was brought by the family of Maritza Jackson, who died in 2021 at the age of 59, allegedly as a result of severe nursing home neglect while a resident at A Place to Grow assisted living in Hillsborough County, Florida.
According to the lawsuit brought by Jackson’s daughter, Nicole Santos, her mother suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and was physically healthy when she entered the facility. Santos indicates doctors recommended her mother be placed in assisted living to ensure her safety and guarantee her around the clock care needs were met.
In May 2021, Santos she made the decision to register her mother at A Place To Grow assisted living facility, which was a facility close to Santos’ work so that she could conveniently visit her mother each day. However, not even two months after Jackson began living at the facility, Santos received a call from a doctor in July to notify her that her mother had developed a severe bedsores and pneumonia, which required emergency medical care.
According to the lawsuit, Jackson developed such a severe bed sore on her back while at the assisted living facility, it caused an open wound so deep that bone was visible. Santos’ complaint stated that Jackson died from sepsis just days after being rushed to a local hospital.
The wrongful death lawsuit filed against the assisted living facility claimed the care provider was understaffed and negligent in caring for Santos’s mother, which caused her to develop such a severe and fatal stage of pressure ulcer.
At trial last month, the presiding judge issued a default judgement against A Place To Grow assisted living facility, after one of the owners of the company failed to attend trial or respond to any court correspondences. The jury, who were shown the pain and suffering Jackson went through as a result of the bed sores ultimately awarded the family a $12.5 million verdict.
Bedsores Caused By Nursing Home Neglect
Also known as decubitus ulcers or pressure sores, bedsores can develop in a hospital, nursing home or other long-term care facility as a result of a lack of blood flow to an area of the skin that is caused by prolonged pressure on one area of the body.
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Bedsores pose a serious health risk for patients, as they can develop into open wounds which can become infected. The injuries most commonly develop in places with prominent bones beneath thin layers of skin, such as the heels, elbows and tailbone. Residents with limited mobility, who have trouble or are unable to move independently, face the greatest risk of the painful and potentially life-threatening pressure ulcers.
It is well known in the long-term care industry that patients who are at higher risk of bedsores need special attention. This includes changing position every two hours, using pillows and foam padding to help reduce pressure on the areas, and drinking plenty of water and to keep skin clean and dry, especially following urination and bowel movements.
However, in many cases bed sores are a result of nursing home neglect, in which the facility failed to adequately monitor and reposition immobile residents. Unfortunately, many of these cases of neglect are linked to nursing homes or assisted living facilities being understaffed, or failing to adhere to care protocols which cause thousands of patients annually to suffer the consequences.
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