Gangrene & Amputation in Nursing Homes

Nursing home abuse and gangrene

Gangrene, Amputation and Nursing Home Negligence

Is Amputation and Wrongful Death due to Gangrene Grounds for a Nursing Home Abuse Claim?

Nursing homes are a place for our sick and elderly. The idea behind a skilled nursing facility is to provide 24 hour care to the most vulnerable of patients.

This heightened level of care is needed because of the underlying diseases that effect nursing home residents. What may be an ordinary cold to you or me may result in body-wide sepsis in a nursing home patient. For this reason, nursing homes must ensure appropriate care for all residents. This includes a quick reaction if a resident is evidencing signs of gangrene. Failing to appropriately react to gangrene is a prime example of nursing home neglect.

What is Gangrene?

Blood flow not getting to foot requiring amputationGangrene is a serious, potentially fatal, disease process that occurs when parts of the body (typically feet, legs, fingers and toes) lose circulation. When these extremities lose blood flow, the feet, toes, legs, or fingers experience tissue death.

This causes the gangrenous area to turn dark, usually a shade of purple or black and grow cold to the touch. Gangrene may also smell like a foul odor in the effected area.

What Causes Gangrene in Nursing Home Patients?

The heart pumps blood to all areas of the body. Naturally, areas far away from the heart have the farthest distance for the blood to travel. If blood flow is restricted in a resident, oxygen and nutrients may not get to these far-reaching areas of the body. This interruption in blood flow causes the skin’s tissue to die, resulting in gangrene. Gangrene will typically present initially as discoloration in the toes or fingers. If left untreated, the entire foot or hand will get dark, eventually requiring amputation.

Wet Gangrene vs. Dry Gangrene

Wet gangrene usually arrives due to an infection. Wet gangrene will have pus and blisters.

Dry gangrene usually arrives due to blood flow issues, like diabetes or vascular disease.

Gangrene & Amputation

When an area of gangrenous tissue dies, the skin will turn black. This process is gradual. The toes may turn cold and darken. Then the necrotic tissue will creep up the foot and eventually onto the leg. If action is not taken quickly, the doctors may need to amputate the nursing home resident’s foot or leg in order to save their life. Gangrene can kill a patient, so an amputation may be required to stop the spread of the necrosis.

Negligent Nursing Home Care Causes Gangrene Infection and Amputation

Gangrene’s Connection to Nursing Home Neglect

So if gangrene comes about as a natural process, how is a nursing home negligent in a gangrene wrongful death case? Typically, nursing home gangrene amputation lawsuits come down to the nursing home failing to properly react to gangrene. This failure to recognize infection and necrosis prevents the doctor from intervening and stopping the spread of the problem without having to amputate.

If a patient is showing signs of gangrene, swift action must be taken. The nursing home staff must call in a vascular doctor immediately, in order to determine the salvageability of the affected area. All too often, overworked nurses miss the signs of the growing problem and fail to do something until it is too late.

Gangrene Nursing Home Abuse Case? Get Senior Justice

Our nursing home abuse lawyers have decades of experience prosecuting nursing home abuse lawsuits involving gangrene, and its medical connection to amputations and wrongful death. We provide free case consultations. If you have a question about a potential case involving gangrene and nursing home neglect, call our attorneys now at 888-375-9998.

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