According to allegations raised in a wrongful death lawsuit recently filed by an Ohio family, nursing home neglect played a part in the death of a resident who suffered bed sores, and a maggot infestation in his nose and throat.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by Terri Chenlikas in the Court of Common Pleas in Mahoning County, Ohio on February 20, on behalf of Thomas J. Ward, Sr., who died of health complications in October 2018. The lawsuit claims the death was due to negligent care at the Oasis Center for Rehabilitation and Healing in Youngstown, Ohio.
According to the lawsuit, Ward was admitted to Oasis following a stroke in late August 2018. In the short time he was there, he suffered numerous health complications, which the lawsuit indicates are clearly signs of neglect before his death. These included severe bed sores, a urinary tract infection, crusting and ulceration on his hard palate and an infestation of maggots in his nose and throat. These ultimately led to sepsis, septic shock and death, the lawsuit states.
“Defendants… were negligent and failed to render care and/or treatment and/or supervision within the acceptable standard of care and treatment,” the lawsuit states. “Such negligence included, but was not limited to failure to provide adequate assessment and catheter care, failure to provide adequate wound prevention and care, failure to monitor and care for Decedent’s oral cavity and oropharynx and other negligence the details of which are not known at this time.”
Ward was discharged from Oasis in early October 2018, less than two months after being admitted to the nursing home, and was hospitalized in two different hospitals before receiving pallative care before his death on October 13, 2018.
According to the lawsuit, the nursing home withheld Ward’s medical records for several months after the family requested them.
Also known as decubitus ulcers or pressure sores, bedsores can develop in a nursing home, hospital 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.
Bedsores pose a serious health risk for patients, as they can develop into open wounds that 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.