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Wrongful Death Arising Out of Bedsores in Tennessee

hospital bedA common warning sign of nursing home abuse in Tennessee and elsewhere is bedsores, which are also known as pressure ulcers. They arise because somebody stays in the same position in a bed or chair for far too long. The accumulated pressure on one spot of the body causes a sore to develop.

Elderly nursing home residents often can’t move as much as they would like or at all, and pressure sores can be a sign that they have been left too long in the same position without being moved. Bedsores are worsened by malnutrition or dehydration. The lack of nutrients causes the immune system to get overtaxed, resulting sometimes in an infection.

There are numerous Tennessee laws designed to make sure that nursing homes provide a uniform minimum standard of care. The laws are supposed to make sure that residents’ needs met and are kept in good health. These laws require, among other things, that facilities provide food and water to residents and provide at least two showers every week and more upon request.

The nursing home is supposed to change the bed linens so that the patient is kept clean, and staff members are required to turn elderly patients every two hours so that bedsores don’t develop. Both the staff and the administrators are supposed to be appropriately trained and skilled so that a high standard of care is provided. For example, nursing home administrators are supposed to have at least one form of certification before being hired for their jobs.

If your elderly loved one develops bedsores while living in a nursing home facility and dies as a result, you should be aware that you may bring a private lawsuit against a nursing home for neglecting or abusing a resident. Wrongful death in Tennessee is a death caused by injuries received from someone else or a death caused by someone else’s wrongful act or omission. The right to bring a wrongful death claim belongs to specific family members or the decedent’s personal representative in a particular order of succession. The right to bring this claim belongs to a surviving spouse, but if there is no surviving spouse, the right to sue passes to surviving children, then to a personal representative of the decedent’s estate, then to surviving parents, and then to an administrator of the decedent’s estate.

Recently, a Colorado jury awarded more than $5.5 million, which may be a record, to the son of a 77-year-old woman who suffered a wrongful death while in a nursing home owned by the corporation Life Care Centers of America, Inc. The verdict was unanimous and included $500,000 in wrongful death damages, as well as more than $57,000 in economic damages for negligence and $5 million in punitive damages.

The woman had been admitted into the nursing home in 2013 and while there, she was abused and neglected repeatedly. She suffered from bedsores, as well as infections, serious bruising, malnutrition, and dehydration. About seven months after being admitted, she died. Her 10 children had visited her regularly and performed various tasks that the nursing home staff refused to perform, like giving their mother showers. Several witnesses came forward in the trial, which took two weeks. These witnesses included the children, the facility’s employees, and several treating physicians. The facility was cited for several regulatory violations by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

If you are being abused, or you suspect a loved one was abused or neglected, the Tennessee nursing home negligence attorneys at Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz may be able to help. Contact us toll-free at 1-800-529-4004 or by completing our online form.

More Blog Posts

How to Spot Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect, November 2, 2016

Validity of Arbitration Agreements Signed by a Family Member in Tennessee, October 25, 2016