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Some Infections at Nursing Homes a Sign of Neglect

It’s true that residents in Vero Beach nursing homes may be more susceptible to infections than the general population.

Vero Beach abuse lawyers understand that is due in part to the fact that older people in general may be more at risk for infection.

However, the fact of the matter is some nursing homes are downright negligent when it comes to exposing patients in their care to serious – and preventable – infections.

It’s no coincidence that under-staffing directly leads to higher rates of infection.

Some examples of infections that stem from neglect would include Norovirus, sepsis, urinary tract infections (also known as UTIs), Hepatitis B or infections caused by improper treatment of wounds.

In a lot of instances, infections can be halted using a strict standard of cleanliness and care. Dangerous pathogens can be transmitted from a number of sources, including a caregiver’s hands, clothing, skin or medical equipment.

A study conducted by Johns Hopkins Hospital in 2005 indicated that in looking at over 100 facilities in Michigan, caregivers were able to all but eliminate certain types of infections by implementing procedures that included regular washing of hands, opening communication lines among caregivers, and ensuring that gloves and gowns are worn when necessary.

When these things don’t happen, the consequences can be tragic.

Consider the following real-life scenarios:

1. An outbreak of Hepatitis B at a North Carolina nursing home claimed the lives of four elderly residents there and sickened many others. Dirty needles were blamed.

2. Failure to properly treat the surgical wounds of a nursing home resident in Illinois resulted in her death in 2010. The woman reportedly had hip replacement surgery, but was not properly cared for once she entered the nursing home. Her family received a settlement of $2 million.

3. Norovirus, an illness that results in nausea, diarrhea and vomiting (severe cases can be deadly) broke out at a Chicago facility, where 129 residents were sickened. Failure to wash hands before food preparation is the most common cause of this viral infection.

4. Outbreaks of scabies in both Maine and Pennsylvania were attributed to unsanitary clothing and linens.

5. In New Mexico, a nursing home patient died after an infection that occurred after a bed pan, which had been forgotten by staffers, became embedded in his skin and caused a severe infection.

6. An Illinois woman passed away after nursing home staff failed to implement timely treatment for her UTI. As a result, she suffered from sepsis, dehydration, kidney failure and malnutrition, which ultimately led to her death.

Another very common bacteria found in nursing homes is Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus – better known as MRSA. It’s a very hearty, resistant strain of bacteria that can be passed due to uncleanliness. Those with open wounds or who have compromised immune systems are especially vulnerable. Signs of it include infections and open wounds, respiratory infections and UTIs. If it goes untreated, it can cause death.

If you or a loved one have suffered from nursing home infections or abuse in Vero Beach, West Palm Beach or the surrounding areas, contact the Law Offices of Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez for legal assistance. 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights.

Additional Resources:
MRSA Carriage Rates Vary Widely in Nursing Homes, Study Finds, staff report, ScienceDaily

More Blog Entries:
Tamarac Nursing Home Abuse Watch: Neglect & Medicaid Fraud, May 14, 2012, Vero Beach Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog

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