A New York City jury has awarded almost $19 million to the family of a 76-year-old nursing home patient that the family says developed more than 20 bedsores due to nursing home neglect.
The New York nursing home lawsuit was filed by the family of John Danzy against the Brooklyn Queens Nursing Home. Danzy died in 2003 of an infection allegedly caused by the nursing home bedsores, six months after he was removed from the facility.
The verdict, which included $15 million in punitive damages, was the first in New York state history to result in punitive damages against a nursing home, according to the New York Post. The award also included $3.75 million in compensatory damages.
The lawsuit accused the nursing home of falsifying records to make it appear that they had been taking proper care of Danzy. An FBI expert witness said that it appeared that nursing home staff went back into the records and changed skincheck logs to make it look like they had found the bedsores.
Bedsores, also known as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers, occur 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 most often develop in places with prominent bones beneath thin layers of skin, such as the heels, elbows and tailbone. Pressure sores often afflict nursing home residents and hospital patients with limited mobility who have trouble, or are unable, to move independently.
Most medical organizations consider nursing home bed sores to be a preventable condition that are easily 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.