Colorado Nursing Home Lawsuit Over Bedsores Results in $3.2M Verdict

The family of a Colorado nursing home resident has been awarded $3.2 million in a wrongful death lawsuit filed after the facility allegedly failed to identify and treat massive bedsores that eventually turned septic.

The complaint was brought by the family of Henry Frazier, 88, who died in 2010 after suffering a severe infection and dehydration due to an untreated nursing home bedsore.

The family alleged that Frazier developed the pressure ulcer at the Pioneer Health Care Center in Rocky Ford, Colorado, which is owned by Grace Healthcare. Frazier, who had once been a janitor at the nursing home, was admitted in 2009.

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In 2010, a concerned employee called the family because they were afraid that a massive bedsore that had developed on Frazier’s backside had become life threatening.

At the family’s request, Frazier was hospitalized and health care workers found that he had become dehydrated, malnourished and suffered from sepsis; a form of blood poisoning caused by infection. In addition, the pressure sore was a stage-four wound infected with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Following his death, the family filed a nursing home neglect lawsuit against the facility and a jury last week ordered Pioneer Health Care to pay $3.2 million in damages as a result of their negligence.

Colorado health officials also inspected the facility in the wake of the incident and cited it 27 times, including citations for numerous infections.

Also known as decubitus ulcers or pressure sores, bedsores can develop in a nursing home as a result of a lack of blood flow to an area of the skin caused by prolonged pressure on one area of the body. They are most commonly found 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.

Most medical organizations consider bed sores to be a preventable condition that can be treated if detected early through proper diligence on the part of medical staff and care providers. Failure to prevent, identify, or properly treat bedsores can result in life-threatening infections that enter the bloodstream, known as sepsis.

In many cases, nursing home negligence lawsuits are filed on behalf of residents who develop bedsores as a result of the staffs failure to identify early signs of the sores and prevent the development of more serious decubitus ulcers.

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