Staffing Reduction Leads to Sepsis and Nursing Home Death: Case Settled Prior to Going to Trial

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sepsis nursing home death due to staffing reductionsIn the spring of 2022, our nursing home neglect law firm in Louisville, KY, was contacted by the wife and children of a nursing home resident that had just been admitted to the hospital with severe dehydration and sepsis. They had received a call from the nursing home DON (Director or Nursing) saying that he had not been feeling well that morning and that they had made the decision to call an ambulance and have him transferred to the emergency department to be evaluated by a doctor.  The family immediately went to the hospital. Unfortunately, by the time they arrived, he had passed away. They met with the emergency room physician and nurses and were told that his cause of death was due to severe septic shock and dehydration.

So What Went Wrong?

Upon arriving at the hospital he was provided with IV fluids and an attempt was made to safely rehydrate him without damaging his kidneys as well as providing IV antibiotics to attempt to combat the sepsis. Sadly, the infection was too far progressed and his body had already begun to shut down due. The emergency department was unable to stabilize his blood pressure due to his kidney’s shutting down and the stress on his heart was too much. He went into cardiac arrest and was not resuscitated because he had a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) on file. The family had visited with him the week prior and everything seemed okay.  They called the DON to get answers to learn what had happened and asked to have a meeting with the nursing home administrator. The DON and administrator agreed to meet with the family. The meeting proved useless. There was no explanation given for how he could have deteriorated in less than a week. That is when they decided to call us to investigate his death.

How Staffing Reductions Contributed to Our Clients’ Death

We learned that the children would make sure one of them visited their dad at least twice a week and would take turns driving their mother to the nursing home at least once a week. They were very involved in their dad’s care and known to the nursing home staff including the nurses and the administration.  Despite their involvement and constant presence, their dad died from nursing home neglect.

After obtaining the nursing home records, and interviewing two former employees of the nursing home, we learned that in the few days prior to his death, the nursing home had pulled two of the regular nurses off our client’s floor replaced them with one lessor experienced nurse. In addition, the nursing home had a nursing aid quit that week after they refused to give her a pay increase that amounted to less than $12 a week. She had requested the raise due to the high price of gas and her 27 minute commute (each way) to the nursing home.  She had worked at the home for over 4 years and had never missed a day of work. So the nursing home decided to save their money and continue operations with not only less staff, but less qualified staff. 

The new staff was unaware that our client wouldn’t drink his water unless it had ice cubes in it. He had a habit of pouring it out so he didn’t have to drink room temperature water. They also didn’t know that he needed to be coaxed into using the restroom because he didn’t like the process of having someone help him to the toilet and disliked using a bedpan even more. He was 90 years old and a very prideful man. The nursing home knew this when they accepted him as a resident and things had gone smoothly until the recent cost saving measures, aka the staffing reductions.

The new staff didn’t make sure our client had ice in his drinks nor did they ensure he wasn’t disposing of his drink instead of drinking it. They also didn’t encourage him to use the restroom as frequently as he should which resulted in him developing a UTI.  Being unfamiliar with our clients stoic disposition, they never followed up with a wellbeing assessment other than asking him “is everything okay.” It wasn’t, and he was allowed to slowly become dehydrated and develop a UTI over a period of 6 days which led to him becoming septic. Upon admission to the hospital he had an extremely elevated BUN level and an elevated white blood cell count.

Our KY Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers Stepped in to Help Our Clients Family Recover Finacially

Our KY nursing home neglect lawyers worked tirelessly to reconstruct the timeline and staff changes to demonstrate that the staffing issues was the main cause of his decline in health. After piecing together the evidence trough the chart and witness testimony we were able to demonstrate the direct correlation and prove the nursing home acted recklessly.  Because of our overwhelming proof, we were able to settle the case prior to trial and cause the nursing home to acknowledge the issues resulting from their staff reduction.

Is Your Loved One Being Neglected in a Kentucky Nursing Home?

If so, it’s time to contact our KY nursing home neglect lawyers. Don’t let staffing reductions, or other forms of nursing home neglect and abuse result in the death of your loved one. Our attorneys have over 50 years of combined experience working with families of lost loved ones in Kentucky nursing homes and will do everything in our power to make sure you and your family are taken care of finanacially should the unfortunate passing of your loved one take place.

Contact our nursing home neglect law firm in Louisville, KY, by filling out our convenient contact form below or calling 502-210-8942 today!