Our Nursing Home Negligence Attorneys Explain UTI Nursing Home Neglect Lawsuits
Getting Answers to Your Nursing Home UTI Lawsuit Questions
UTI’s occur frequently in skilled nursing and assisted living facilities. But are UTI’s preventable in nursing homes? The short answer is: some are and some aren’t. Many times, liability will arise when a nursing home ignores the patient’s UTI and allows the infection to develop into sepsis.
Preventable UTI’s commonly result in nursing home wrongful death lawsuits. Our experienced attorneys describe in detail below how urinary tract infections can be caused by negligence in nursing home settings.
Free Nursing Home UTI Case Evaluation
If you suspect your loved one suffered a preventable UTI in a nursing home that led to wrongful death or serious injury, contact the nursing home abuse lawyers at Senior Justice Law Firm. Our nationwide law firm focuses on negligence cases against nursing homes and assisted living facilities. We have the experience and compassion to help your family after a preventable urinary tract infection injury harmed your loved one.
Call us now for a completely free case evaluation: 1-888-375-9998.
Urinary Tract Infections & Nursing Homes
A urinary tract infection, also called a UTI, is an infection in the urethra, ureter, bladder or catheter. UTI’s are fairly common in elderly nursing home residents. UTI’s are more common in patients with catheters. However, simply because a nursing home resident is catheterized does not excuse the nursing home from liability if the patient dies from a urinary tract infection.
Treating a UTI in a Nursing Home is Easy… If Detected in Time
The law requires that nursing homes not only attempt to prevent UTI’s, but also that they timely react when a resident has a UTI. Treatment of a urinary tract infection in a nursing home is simple.
First, whenever a UTI is suspected, the nursing home should order blood and/or urine tests. These labs can quickly determine whether the resident is suffering from a UTI. A urinalysis test is inexpensive, quick, painless and effective.
If the resident has a UTI, a simple antibiotic and hydration regimen should cure the infection.
The problems arise if a nursing home UTI is ignored.
Failing to Recognize Signs and Symptoms of a Urinary Tract Infection in a Long Term Care Patient Can Lead to Sepsis
Untreated UTI’s in nursing home residents can be fatal. If a urinary tract infection is left to fester, it can lead to sepsis. Sepsis is a body-wide infection that infiltrates the victim’s blood. This ailment can cause total organ failure, trouble breathing, septic shock and wrongful death.
Below is a death certificate that describes a nursing home neglect victim’s cause of death as a) sepsis and b) urinary tract infection. The death certificate describes the manner of death as an “accident”, because the certifying physician believed the UTI/sepsis was preventable.
If your family member died from sepsis and/or a UTI, you should seek legal advice from our nursing home negligence law firm. The lawyers at Senior Justice Law Firm have successfully prosecuted hundreds of UTI and sepsis lawsuits for victims and their families.
What are the Signs of a Nursing Home UTI?
Usually, a UTI will result in painful urination. However, many nursing home residents are unable to communicate their pain, so the nursing home staff must diligently be on the lookout for the following symptoms of UTI:
- Cloudy urine, either in the catheter or through normal urination.
- Painful urination.
- Confusion, aggression, agitation or disorientation.
- Falls, dizziness or unsteady gait.
If the nursing home resident displays the above symptoms without any other causes, it is likely they have a urinary tract infection. This should trigger the nursing home to initiate lab work to rule in or rule out a UTI. Once the UTI is confirmed, the doctor should place the nursing home patient on antibiotics and fluids. This usually results in a successful resolution of the infection, without any long-term harm.
If the facility staff ignores the above signs of UTI and allows the infection to worsen, it may result in sepsis. This more serious infection is harder to treat and can be life-threatening.
UTI Nursing Home Lawsuits
Behind falls and pressure sores, UTI cases are our third most prevalent injury that we see in the lawsuits we file. Oftentimes, it is not the UTI itself that is the subject of the lawsuit, but rather, the failure of the nursing home to appropriately diagnose the infection and treat it with antibiotics. Below are some of the more common urinary tract infection lawsuits we file against nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
Lawsuits Against Nursing Homes for UTI’s from Sitting in Dirty Diapers
Anatomically, the urethra is very close to the anus. As unpleasant as it is to think about, when incontinent elderly nursing home residents urinate and defecate in their adult diapers, this bacteria sits directly on the urethra. If a nursing home patient is left to sit in dirty diapers for hours at a time, they will inevitably be exposed to E. coli bacteria. More than 8 out of 10 UTI infections in seniors are caused by E. coli bacteria.
Obviously, if a nursing home resident is incontinent of bladder and bowel, they go to the bathroom in their diapers. If the nurses and aides allow that resident to sit in dirty diapers with urine and feces in them, then they develop a UTI, our lawyers have a fairly easy time linking the neglect to the urinary tract infection. This is a common allegation in nursing home UTI lawsuits.
UTI Lawsuit Due to Dirty Catheter
While it is true that catheterized patients have a higher chance of developing UTI’s, this does not mean that UTI’s are unavoidable in patients with catheters.
Federal regulations require nursing homes to be particularly cleanly with residents who have catheters. This includes frequent cleaning of both the catheter, and the draining bag. Failure to do this is nursing home negligence and can result in a severe catheter urinary tract infection.
A catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) can be caused by any of the following nurse failures:
- the catheter is not regularly cleaned by nursing home staff;
- the catheter bag is not emptied routinely by nursing home staff;
- a build up of urine in the catheter goes uncorrected;
- a blockage in the catheter causes urine backflow;
- an uncorrected twisted or kinked catheter, causing urine backflow;
- a misplaced catheter bag is lower than the patient’s bladder; or
- germs are introduced into the catheter by dirty, unwashed hands of nursing home staff.
If any of the above are the cause of the catheter associated UTI, one must question whether the nursing home nurses could have prevented the CAUTI.
Failure to Timely Recognize and Respond to a Urinary Tract Infection
Regardless of what caused the UTI, nursing home staff have a legal obligation to timely react to the signs and symptoms of the infection. This is the job of the nurses to communicate these issues to the physician. If the physician fails to act in a quick enough manner, this may result in a nursing home doctor lawsuit.
If a patient is displaying the above signs of a UTI, like being unusually confused, and the nursing home staff ignores this problem, it can result in a worsening of the infection. If the patient develops full blown sepsis or septic shock from an untreated UTI, this oftentimes proves fatal.
Untreated urinary tract infections inside nursing homes are evidence of negligence. This is sadly the most common fact pattern for UTI wrongful death cases that we file.
Call Us Today for a Frank Discussion on Your Potential UTI Nursing Home Lawsuit
At Senior Justice Law Firm, our attorneys focus on liability claims against nursing homes and long-term care facilities. We work on contingency fee only. This means you pay us nothing unless we are able to secure a settlement or verdict on your behalf. Only then do we take a fee, which is typically 33 1/3rd or 40% of your recovery, plus costs.
The consultation is completely free as well. Call us now to speak with one of our experienced attorneys about your potential UTI wrongful death lawsuit.
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