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Nursing Home Bedsore Lawsuit in Baltimore

Abrams v. FutureCare Lochearn

Nursing Home elderThis is a bedsore wrongful death case filed in Baltimore City against FutureCare. Plaintiff alleges that the decedent died prematurely, from the effects of a pressure ulcer, as a result of the negligence of FutureCare.

The attorney for the plaintiff filed this case with the Maryland Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office on May 2, 2017, and it is the 206th medical malpractice case filed in Maryland this year.

Summary of Plaintiff's Allegations

A resident at FutureCare Lochern goes to Siani Hospital on June 15, 2015, with a stage II pressure ulcer on his butt, measuring 4.5 cm by 3 cm.

On June 18th, the man returns to FutureCare, which dutifully documents the presence of the pressure ulcer. But FutureCare does not provide a medical consultation to the resident until June 29. By this point, his pressure ulcer has increased 20 square inches. FutureCare puts him on a treatment plan of ointment and monitoring.

The man's condition is re-evaluated on July 6. By now, his pressure ulcer has grown to 5 cm by 5 cm, and facility notes say that it is now stage IV. Still, there is - allegedly anyway -- no change in treatment.

On July 12, the man is observed to have "decreased alertness and lethargy," but FutureCare takes no particular action in response.

He is taken to Northwest Hospital where he undergoes a surgical debridement of his pressure ulcer. After three days, he was transferred to a hospice and dies from severe sepsis from the pressure ulcer.

The man's family files this lawsuit alleging that the failure to care for the pressure sores. "Despite numerous medical records describing the severity and worsening condition of Mr. Ellerba's sacral wound at FutureCare, his condition was poorly followed, poorly treated and complicated by significant delays in treatment. This allowed his wound to progress to a stage IV severity pressure ulcer."

Additional Comments
  • This is a very typical wrongful death pressure sore case. The allegation is the decedent's condition kept getting worse despite the fact that he supposedly was receiving treatment from FutureCare. Decedent's pressure ulcer, a stage II wound on June 15, would nearly double in area by July 6 and become a Stage IV ulcer. There are few good outcomes after a Stage IV bed sore.
  • The decedent had a debridement which is the removal dead tissue on the bedsore. The idea is that because the bacteria grows in the dead tissue, cutting in out will stop or slow the infection. There are four major kinds of debridement. A sharp debridement uses a scalpel or scissors to cut away the dead tissue. A biological debridement uses - believe it or not -- maggots that eat away the dead tissue. An autolytic debridement uses the body's enzymes to attack the dead tissue. Finally, a chemical debridement uses topical enzymes to take away the dead tissue.
  • Debridement can help stop the acceleration of a pressure sore. But when you see a debridement described in a nursing home lawsuit, this intervention is too little, too late.
  • This case is a who's who of nursing home defense lawyers. Waranch & Brown has one of the doctors. Walker, Murphy & Nelson is representing FutureCare. Wharton, Levin, Ehrmantraut & Klein is representing one of the doctors.
  • Plaintiff may claim this was actually a Kennedy terminal ulcer which, if the facts supported it, would be a viable defense. But trying to argue that in this case is going to be fitting a square peg into a round hole.
  • FutureCare continues to file motions in these cases trying to get the survival action into arbitration.
Jurisdiction
  • Baltimore City
Defendants
  • Lochearn Nursing Home LLC, dba FutureCare Lochearn
  • A doctor at Advantage Wound Care Surgical Group. It is uncertain if he was with this group at the time of the lawsuit. This practice is not named in the lawsuit.
  • An internal medicine doctor affiliated with Sinai and MedStar and his medical practice
  • A nurse practitioner in Baltimore
Hospitals Where Patient was Treated
  • Sinai Hospital of Baltimore
  • Northwest Hospital
Negligence
  • Failure to recognize decedent patient's risk for pressure ulcers, and monitor patient accordingly
  • Failure to render appropriate treatment for a pressure ulcer
  • Failure to order timely medical consultations about patient's condition
  • Failure to implement appropriate care procedures and modify them as necessary
Specific Counts Pled
  • Negligence
  • Survival action
  • Wrongful death
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