A jury in upstate New York awarded a victim of nursing home abuse $1.2 million for its wanton neglect of an elderly resident. The jury found that 72-year-old Shirley Burrows was horrifically neglected by Newfane Rehab & Health Care Center, a long-term care facility in Niagara County. According to The Buffalo News, Burrow’s damages include $775,000 for pain and suffering and $475,000 for violating state public health laws meant to protect nursing home residents. Lawyers for the profit-making nursing home said that insurance will fully cover the settlement.
The mistreatment of Burrows began in May 2015 when she was discharged from the hospital with several “superficial” bedsores. Bedsores, also called pressure injuries or pressure ulcers in the medical community, develop when a person is pressed against a surface for an extended period of time. Due to decreased mobility and a higher rate of hospitalizations, the elderly are highly susceptible to bedsores. When bedsores are minor, they can heal quickly. However, minor bedsores can quickly turn into deep and painful sores when left untreated. Bedsores, especially serious ones, are usually preventable.
Unfortunately, the medical staff at the New York nursing home did not follow the care plan developed by Burrow’s doctors at the hospital, which instructed nursing home staff to turn Burrows over every two hours. According to medical experts that testified during the trial, following this simple instruction would have healed Burrows’ minor bedsores within four to eight weeks. Instead, the minor wound turned into a stage four bedsore, meaning the wound went deep into her bone. Medical records at the nursing home show that Burrows was not visited by a doctor a single time after being released by the hospital.
When nursing home staffers finally noticed the gaping pressure ulcer on Burrows, she was immediately admitted into the hospital. At that point, Burrows’ bedsore was so severe and deep it required surgery and, even after the surgery, it would still take over two years for her bedsore to completely heal. Burrows described the sore as extremely painful.
Bedsores are an unfortunately common affliction for the elderly at nursing homes across the country. According to the New York Department of Health, 6.8 percent of long-term nursing home residents in the state developed a pressure ulcer in the last year. For short-term nursing home residents, the rate of bedsores is significantly lower at 0.8 percent. While bedsores are prevalent at nursing homes across the country, New York has one of the highest rates in the country which means that, sadly, cases like Burrows are not entirely uncommon.
Our attorneys protect the rights of NY nursing home residents. Contact us to discuss your potential case if you have suffered from bedsores.