Patients of nursing homes are among the most vulnerable patients in the health care system. Many of them are unable to take care of themselves or to attend to their medical care. A recently filed lawsuit involving nursing home abuse in Derby, Kansas demonstrates the special vulnerability of these elderly citizens.
According to the complaint, the patient was an 89-year-old woman in the Westview of Darby nursing home. The woman fell from her recliner and hit her leg on a wheel chair. The woman suffered a three-inch bruise that did not heal on its own. Her legs also swelled up. She did not receive any antibiotics until almost a month after the accident. By that time, the wound was fully infected and leaking fluid. The complaint alleges that the nursing home staff failed to provide adequate care or to refer her to a wound clinic for specialized treatment. The complaint also alleged that the staff failed to take account of the woman’ diabetes and edema, two conditions that increased her risk of developing skin ulcers. The woman died from the infection three months after the fall.
Westview is one of more than 20 Kansas nursing homes that have been taken over by the state in receivership actions. Inspectors found that conditions in the nursing homes put patients at risk of poor treatment and inadequate medical care. Westview, the defendant in the law suit, was specifically cited for failing to bathe patients, patient falls and failing to contact the nursing home patient hotline after two other patients had engaged in a fight.
The lawsuit was commenced by the deceased woman’s daughter and an administrator of her estate. Plaintiffs are seeking at least $75,000 in damages.