Searching for a Bed Sore Attorney in West Palm Beach? Demand Senior Justice Law Firm
Bedsores are an inexcusable event in any hospitalization or nursing home residency. Our West Palm Beach nursing home abuse lawyers have extensive experience suing just about every nursing home and hospital chain in Palm Beach County.
Call our experienced and compassionate West Palm Beach bed sore attorneys today for a completely free case consultation: 561-717-0817.
Extensive Attorney Experience Handling Bed Sore Liability Cases in West Palm Beach
West Palm Beach attracts many senior citizens due to its warm climate, ample golf courses and proximity to beautiful beaches. As a result, West Palm Beach is home to numerous nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and hospitals. While many West Palm Beach families assume that healthcare facilities in the area will provide their loved ones with the appropriate level of care, the city has not been immune to healthcare facility neglect or abuse. A common byproduct of neglect or abuse is the development of bedsores.
Senior Justice Law Firm is headquartered in Palm Beach County. We are a narrowly focused elder abuse law firm and the most common injury we litigate is bedsores.
Our firm routinely represents families negatively impacted by a loved one developing a bed sore inside a West Palm Beach area nursing home, assisted living facility or hospital. Call us today to learn more about how we can help you get answers and justice for a Palm Beach County bed sore.
Free West Palm Beach Bed Sore Attorney Evaluation: 561-717-0817
Lawsuits in West Palm Beach Dealing with Bed Sore Injuries
Our bedsore lawyers believe that by bringing civil claims to expose elder abuse and neglect, this assists in stopping nursing home negligence from occurring again in the future.
This has been evident in lawsuits filed against West Palm Beach healthcare facilities, particularly nursing homes, for neglect and/or abuse. For example, in 2017, Cynthia Rose filed a lawsuit against Darcy Hall of Life Care for negligence after she developed open wounds on several locations on her body, including a Stage IV pressure ulcer on her sacrum. At the hospital to which Ms. Rose was transferred, they found that she was dehydrated, had contracted pneumonia at Darcy Hall of Life Care, and was suffering from a significant infection.
On October 24, 2017, Coral Bay Healthcare and Rehabilitation was fined $2,500 by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration for its failure to provide adequate care to several residents. One resident was admitted on January 15, 2016 with a Stage II pressure ulcer on the left ankle. The presence of the pressure ulcer had been recorded and the resident determined to be at risk of developing pressure ulcers. However, no preventative measures were ordered for the pressure ulcers nor was documentation provided regarding the Stage II pressure ulcer on the resident’s ankle from January 16, 2016 to January 25, 2016. On January 26, 2016, a physician’s notes showed that the resident had developed three additional pressure ulcers, one of which was a Stage III pressure ulcer. The pressure ulcer on the resident’s left ankle had progressed to an “unstageable” level and was noted to be “necrotic.”
The Agency for Health Care Administration surveyor also found that another resident at the same facility with a similar pressure ulcer on his heel had no dressing on his pressure ulcer. The resident’s records also indicated that no treatment had been provided for his pressure ulcer from February 1, 2016 to February 4, 2016.
Understanding West Palm Beach Pressure Ulcers and Bedsores
Although pressure ulcers – also known as bed sores, pressure sores, or decubitus sores – may be inevitable in some situations, in many situations, the development of pressure ulcers can be an indication of negligent care. Pressure ulcers occur when skin breaks down due to constant friction or pressure. Often, they develop on pressure points in residents/patients with limited mobility such as on the heels, sacrum, shoulder blades, and buttocks.
Wound Care Treatment in Palm Beach County
Pressure ulcer injuries usually requirement debridements and surgery at wound care centers, like the one at JFK Hospital.
When a patient develops a bed sore, outpatient wound care and surgical debridements are common. West Palm Beach bed sores are routinely treated at JFK Wound Clinic, the Wound Care Clinic at St. Mary’s Medical Center, Kindred Hospital’s Wound Care Unit, or by outside wound care teams like VOHRA.
As mentioned above, pressure ulcers can be “staged” into four stages. Stage I pressure ulcers appear as discolored skin which is tender to the touch. Pressure ulcers that have broken the skin or appear as blisters are classified as Stage II. At this stage, the pressure ulcer is still quite superficial. When pressure ulcers reach Stage III, the sore has reached down to the layer of fat underneath the skin. When pressure ulcers are permitted to fester even further, they can reach down to the muscle and bone. These are called Stage IV pressure ulcers. As open sores, pressure ulcers are prone to infection; when a pressure ulcer is “unstageable,” it is often due to an infection within the sore that makes it impossible to determine how deep the pressure ulcer actually is.
West Palm Beach Bed Sores are a ‘Never Event’, Meaning They Should Never Occur
The need to limit the occurrence of pressure ulcers at healthcare facilities is well known. In fact, in 2008, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services determined that hospital-acquired Stage III and Stage IV pressure ulcers are “never events” that should not be permitted to occur. As a result of this determination, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services stopped providing reimbursements for expenses related to such hospital-acquired Stage III and Stage IV pressure ulcers. This means there is no excuse for your loved one to develop a Stage 4 bedsore inside a West Palm Beach nursing home or hospital.
The inability to receive reimbursement for severe pressure ulcers, and the fact that severe pressure ulcers can and often do lead to litigation have encouraged West Palm healthcare facilities to formulate numerous policies and procedures related to the prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers. For example, it is well established that those at high risk of developing pressure ulcers or those who have developed pressure ulcers must be turned and re-positioned every two hours. Pillows and/or boots should also be used to lift heels off the bed. Yet, no matter how effective these policies are, when facilities are short-staffed, these policies cannot be implemented on a consistent basis.
Lack of Staff is a Common Cause of West Palm Beach Pressure Ulcer Injuries
Unfortunately, keeping staff numbers low is a guaranteed way for West Palm Beach facilities to save on costs. In Florida, state law requires only that healthcare facilities do not staff below one nurse per 40 residents. This is very lax. However, a more relevant staffing requirement comes from the federal regulations, which says the facility must staff to its residents’ needs and acuity.
This means that West Palm nursing homes must provide enough staff to care for the overwhelming number of residents they house. If a facility is understaffed, this results in staff prioritizing critical care such as dispensing medication and providing medical treatment. Procedures such as turning patients/residents regularly are deprioritized as staff are responsible for too many residents/patients. Moreover, when staff are not able to properly monitor residents/patients’ nutrition and hydration levels, their risk of developing pressure ulcers increases. For those already suffering from pressure ulcers, inadequate nutrition can slow the healing process.
What to do if your Loved One Suffers a Bed Sore in a West Palm Beach Facility
When pressure ulcers do develop on a loved one, and treatment does not appear to be either effective or provided on a regular basis, there are several options available to address the issue.
Family members can directly request that the facility be more attentive, and/or they can file a complaint with Florida’s Agency for Healthcare Administration. This may trigger the Agency to conduct an unannounced survey of the West Palm Beach nursing home to determine whether the complaint has any merit.
West Palm Beach nursing homes and healthcare facilities are monitored by Field Office #9. Field office #9, in and for Palm Beach County, can be contacted at:
Arlene Mayo-Davis, Field Office Manager
5150 Linton Boulevard, Suite 500
Delray Beach, Florida 33484
(561) 381-5840 Phone
(561) 496-5924 Fax
Sometimes, Administrative Fines are Not Sufficient Punishment for Pressure Injuries
Even when West Palm Beach nursing homes and hospitals are determined to be liable for failing to prevent bed sores, the punishment is often only a paltry fine. These fines are nominal and it is oftentimes more cost-effective for facilities to pay fines than to hire a number of new staff.
This is a sad reality when looking at the economics behind patient neglect. It is almost always cheaper to pay government fines than hire enough staff.
The alternative is legal action. An aggrieved patient, or their family members, may investigate a civil claim against the at fault facility or hospital.
File a West Palm Beach Bed Sore Lawsuit
Sadly, a West Palm Beach bedsore lawsuit may be the only true avenue of justice for the victim of a bed sore.
Legal action can result in the court ordering a facility to pay all related medical expenses as well as compensatory damages. Moreover, taking legal action with our West Palm Beach bed sore attorneys can ensure that complaints are taken seriously. Healthcare facilities understand that the risk of litigation can be extremely costly and may be motivated to make efforts to ensure your loved one’s health and safety if he or she is represented by legal counsel.
In nearby Lake Worth, situated just south of West Palm Beach, a jury awarded George Dahmer’s widow approximately $2 million in 2012 against the Lake Worth Manor nursing home. According Patricia Dahmer, George’s wife, he had lost nearly 30 pounds after 63 days at the nursing home and developed severe pressure ulcers. George passed away as a result of the nursing home’s neglect. The Dahmer family contended that the nursing home was run by a “skeleton staff” and that was the reason why the Palm Beach facility allowed the resident to suffer Stage 4 bedsores.
The Palm Beach jury award for Lake Worth Manor’s negligence is one of the largest awarded in the State of Florida. Yet, the case shows how effective litigation can be, and the devastating consequences of healthcare facility neglect. Although a multi-million dollar jury award in a Palm Beach bedsore case is unusual, these case usually settle in excess of $100,000.
Let Senior Justice Law Firm Serve as your West Palm Beach Bed Sore Lawyers
At Senior Justice Law Firm, we recognize the importance of holding healthcare facilities in West Palm Beach accountable for negligent care and/or abuse. Our team of attorneys specialize in this niche so that they can better provide injured parties with the expertise and experience to successfully litigate these cases. If you have a loved one that has suffered or is suffering from pressure ulcers in the West Palm Beach area, please do not hesitate to contact us for a consultation. This is what we do.
Free West Palm Beach Bed Sore Case Evaluation: 561-717-0817