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Nursing Home Negligence Leads to Ear Maggots

Some cases of nursing home negligence are so egregious, they churn your stomach.

Our Parkland nursing home abuse attorneys recently read about a case in Illinois that had this effect.

It involved a 92-year-old Alzheimer’s patient whose husband had spent his life savings – approximately $270,000 – to ensure his beloved wife was properly cared for around-the-clock. He even took the time to research the facility, which had earned four out of five overall stars according to state ratings. This was especially important, the husband knew, because his wife was unable to speak, and wouldn’t be able to communicate to him if something was not right.

As it turned out, after two years at the facility, something was very wrong.

She had been prescribed ear drops for a previous condition. One day, a nurse who had been caring for her noticed a maggot, moving around in her ear. A maggot, if you aren’t familiar, is fly larvae. At that point, the woman was rushed to the hospital.

Once in the emergency room, the woman’s daughter watched as doctors worked to extract nearly 60 of the live creatures from her mother’s ear. The bugs were shipped off to a laboratory, where it was determined that they had been alive for about three days at that point.

Her family wonders how staffers could have applied ear drops and bathed her without noticing the insect infestation in her ear.

Now, in addition to this, her family says she is now also fighting an antibiotic-resistant form of Staff infection known as MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). This is a contagious bacteria that can cause a range of infections, including sores or boils on the skin or infections of the blood, lungs or urinary tract if it follows surgery. It is particularly dangerous for someone who is elderly and has a weakened immune system.

The family now says that the MRSA infection is directly related to the maggot incident. They are holding on to hope that she is able to survive.

Nursing home facilities have a duty to ensure that their facilities are clean and patients are properly cared for. This is an example of what can happen when they don’t. Even if this woman is unable to comprehend or remember what happened to her, her daughter will have nightmares of this vision for years to come.

The family has recently filed a civil suit seeking $50,000 in damages, alleging negligence and emotional distress.

The state Department of Public Health launched an investigation into the incident in October, and found no violations of the state’s Nursing Home Care Act. However, that just means that the facility won’t face sanctions from the state. It has no bearing on the family’s ability to prove their case of negligence.

Our Parkland, Florida nursing home abuse lawyers know that thorough sanitation in nursing homes is key to providing proper care. When this doesn’t happen, patients are more vulnerable to infection and illness. Even if patients don’t get sick directly as a result, you have to wonder: If staffers are cutting corners on cleanliness – an aspect that is highly visible – what else are they neglecting, especially when you’re not looking?

While facilities are inspected every year or so for these issues, not all violations are caught because not all may occur on the same day the inspector arrives.

As a family member, you want to be on the lookout for cleanliness issues, and contact an attorney right away if you believe such problems contributed to the illness or loss of your loved one.

Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights.

Additional Resources:
Nursing home sued after maggots found in patient’s ear, Dec. 6, 2012, By Sally Ho, The Chicago Tribune

Catherine McCann Maggot Infestation In Ear Leads To MRSA Infection — And Lawsuit, Dec. 13, 2012, By Kim Bellware, The Huffington Post

More Blog Entries:
Lake Worth Nursing Home Neglect Death: Jury Awards $1.8M, Dec. 2, 2012, Parkland Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers

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