A 70-year-old woman entered a Kentucky nursing home for rehabilitation services following a back surgery. However, her recovery did not go as planned.
On the fifth day of her nursing home stay, the woman developed a fever and was described as lethargic. The nursing home did nothing—the staff did not provide treatment for the woman, they did not notify a physician, and they did not notify her family. Two days later, the woman was again described as having a fever and being lethargic, but now she was also not taking fluids. Again, the nursing home did nothing; no treatment was provided, no physician was called, and her family was not notified of her condition by phone or during their daily visits.
Two days later—on day nine of her nursing home stay—the woman began showing signs of decreased urine output. At that time, labs were drawn and the test results showed a BIN and creatinine levels consistent with early stages of kidney failure. Her white blood cell (WBC) count was high and she was showing signs of sepsis. Yet the medical director was not notified of her condition and no call was made for emergency medical services. Instead, a non-urgent call was made to her family physician.
The next—on day ten of her nursing home stay—the woman was found in renal failure and nearly dead in her room. She was taken to the emergency room and diagnosed with renal failure, dehydration, sepsis, and septic shock. Emergency room staff started to administer antibiotics which rapidly began to clear the infection. Unfortunately, the negligence of the nursing home staff had already resulted in significant kidney damage and sepsis. The woman was not able to recover. She became hypovelmic and stroked.
Our firm sued the nursing home. For nearly a year and a half we fought for a fair recovery. During this time, the state investigated this nursing home and found no violations. We strongly disagreed with the state’s findings, as did our expert witnesses, and we fought hard both for a financial recovery and for a change in nursing home policy. Ultimately, we settled for more than the nursing home’s insurance policy and we got the nursing home to change their policy about when to notify a physician and family members of a nursing home resident’s fever.
Fever is a warning sign of sepsis. If your loved one develops a fever while in a nursing home, then it is important to make sure that your loved one gets prompt medical care, and if you believe that the nursing home was negligent in getting your loved one that care then it is also important to contact an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer for more information.