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New York Hospital Bedsore Lawsuit Results in $5.4M Award

A New York jury has awarded $5.4 million in damages for injuries suffered due to untreated bedsores that occurred at Staten Island University Hospital (SIUH). 

The hospital bedsore lawsuit was filed by Robert Messina, 63, who lost the ability to walk after suffering ulcers that eventually led to a hip infection.

Bedsores, also known as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers, can develop in a hospital 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.

In addition to hospital patients, bedsores often afflict nursing home residents and individuals with limited mobility who have trouble, or are unable, to move independently.

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.

Messina developed the pressure sores during an extended stay in SIUH and Golden Gate Rehabilitation and Health Care Center following a brain dysfunction that caused him to collapse on August 31, 2006.

The complaint alleged that Messina was diagnosed with bedsores several days later by hospital staff. Those bedsores worsened until Messina had ulcers on his mouth, buttocks, genitals and ankles. All but the spine and ankle bedsores were healed by the time he got to Golden Gate. Over the next year, he went back and forth between the nursing home and hospital for various health reasons, including an explosion of the spinal ulcer and bone infection in his hip.

Messina has lost the ability to walk due to a dislocated hip and cannot receive a hip replacement due to the infection caused by the bedsores.

A New York Supreme Court jury found SIUH 75% responsible for Messina’s injury, meaning the hospital would have to pay about $4 million of the $5.4 million Messina was awarded. Golden Gate was found to be responsible for 25% of Messina’s injuries, but was not a part of the lawsuit.

SIUH has indicated that it will appeal the verdict on the basis that the evidence clearly did not support the findings of the jury.

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