A Boston-area nursing home has been sued for neglect after untreated pressure sores led to the amputation of a resident’s leg. The staff had advised the resident’s family that the decline in their mother’s health was due to her body shutting down as she was near death.
After she was admitted to a hospital, the family discovered that their mother’s decline in health was due to untreated pressure ulcers on her legs which became infected, necessitating the amputation.
Bed sores are very painful injuries, and the name unfortunately does not do justice to what a terrible injury this is to suffer. Unfortunately, bed sores are prevalent in nursing homes, and can have serious consequences. Infections are a frequent result because the sores are an interruption in skin integrity, and healthy skin is the most important barrier against infecting organisms.
Federal regulations provide that when a resident enters a nursing home without pressure ulcers (another name for bed sores), they should not develop them unless they are clincially unavoidable. This puts the onus on the nursing home to everything possible to prevent them.