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Unattended bed sores cause infection and death

Nursing homes play an integral role in elder care. When Florida families cannot care for elderly loved ones, they rely on nursing homes to provide the oversight and attention needed. Unfortunately, nursing home neglect is a terrifying reality. Those facilities families have come to rely on sometimes fail to give necessary medication, feed adequate nutrition and provide proper attention. These shortcomings can result in illnesses such as malnutrition and infections caused by bed sores.

Florida residents should be aware of the dangers of bed sores, as they can appear at any hospital or nursing home. Recently in Colorado, a family brought suit against a nursing home after their elderly loved one died as a result of an infection caused by unattended bed sores. One of those sores was the size of a baseball.

The victim, who was once able to walk with assistance, eventually stopped eating, drinking and walking to the cafeteria. He became bed-bound and unresponsive. A few weeks later the victim's son was told by a nursing home staff member that the victim had infected bed sores.

When the victim's son requested his father be taken to the hospital, nursing home administrators protested. However, the victim was taken to the hospital where he was determined to be dehydrated and malnourished. According to doctors, the victim eventually died from the infection.

These instances are tragic. Bed sores, which occur when a patient is not turned or repositioned every two hours, are completely avoidable. Properly trained and attentive nursing home personal should inspect residents' skin for developing bed sores and quickly implement pressure-relieving mattresses. Failure to do these simple tasks is negligence and can lead to dire consequences.

Though a lawsuit cannot ease the pain and suffering a loved one faces after nursing home negligence, it can compensate for the pain and accrual of unnecessary medical expenses.

Source: The Denver Post, "$3.2 million award in Rocky Ford nursing home death tied to bedsores," Kirk Mitchell, May 2, 2012

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