California Nursing Home Pays One Million Dollar Settlement After Patient Dies from Bedsore

Screen Shot 2017-12-15 at 2.40.54 PM.pngElder abuse can take many forms, and it is easy for many of them to go unreported. If a family member is abusing or neglecting an elderly relative at home, it is often a case of the caregiving relative taking advantage of the elderly parent financially, although physical abuse and neglect can also occur. The elder is often socially isolated, so years can go by without anyone finding out. One would hope that patients would always receive adequate care in nursing homes, but nursing home staff can also allow patients’ health to deteriorate, and sometimes nursing home administrators say nothing about it. Practices that value the bottom line over patients’ well-being and desperate measures to cope with understaffing can lead to patients’ hygiene and nutrition being neglected. It is hard for nursing home patients to speak up for themselves and alert relatives or authorities to the abuse, especially when the patients suffer from dementia or limited mobility. Nursing home patients have legal recourse against nursing facilities when patients suffer abuse and neglect. In 2016, a California court awarded a million-dollar settlement to the family of a nursing home patient who died from bedsores, which are a preventable and treatable condition.

Eleanor Buckingham’s Death and Her Children’s Lawsuit

Eleanor Buckingham enjoyed relatively good health until the fall of 2012, when she was in her mid-80s. She entered Emeritus, a nursing home in Santa Rosa, California, for treatment of cellulitis, a bacterial infection of the skin and the tissues just below it. Cellulitis is a common condition in elderly people and can usually be cured with antibiotics.  When she entered the nursing home, the staff took notice of a bedsore on her back, but they did not take any action to treat it or to prevent it from becoming infected. By the time Buckingham was released from the nursing home on January 15, 2013, the bedsore had become seriously infected. She was admitted to a hospital, but by that time, the infection was so advanced that treatments did not help, and Buckingham died from sepsis, a complication of the infected bedsore.

Buckingham’s son and daughter sued Emeritus and its administration for failing to treat their mother’s bedsore and allowing a fatal infection to develop.  California’s nursing home regulations specify the measures that nursing home staff must take to prevent infections, and records show that the staff of Emeritus knew about the bedsore when Buckingham was first admitted to the nursing home. The parties settled for one million dollars, shortly before the case was scheduled to go to trial. The amount is significant because California limits the damages a court can award in a negligence suit at $250,000, a quarter of the settlement amount.

Contact Case Barnett About Nursing Home Neglect

By itself, a bedsore is not a particularly serious condition, but it can get much worse if untreated, meaning that infected bedsores are often a sign of neglect. Case Barnett Law has settled numerous bed sore cases for 7 figures.  Contact Case Barnett in Costa Mesa, California if your relative has infected bedsores or shows other signs of nursing home neglect.

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