When loved ones suffer from dementia or have worsening symptoms as they age, family members can find themselves unable to provide adequate care. Many times, the adult children of the elderly are still working and may even have children in the home that demand care and attention. Other times, the needs of the aging family member simply require medical skills and knowledge that laypeople do not have.
People turn to nursing homes and similar long-term care facilities to ensure that their loves ones receive adequate care and support as they age. For many, these facilities offer a beacon of hope and a decent standard of living, even as they battle with declining mental faculties and reduced physical ability. For some, however, long-term care facilities can be a source of pain, injury or even death.
Georgia woman’s skin infestation went undiagnosed
A 93-year-old former model living in a Georgia nursing home suffered a nightmarish ordeal as a result of medical neglect and a total failure to diagnose a worsening condition. She died in 2015 in the facility as the result of a infestation of scabies. Although there had been reports of scabies outbreaks at the facility, state inspectors never looked into the issue.
Specialists estimate there were hundreds of millions of tiny bugs living under the woman’s skin at the time of her death. There are also records that show the nursing facility was aware of her condition. Staff were even told not to touch her hand, out of fear the badly damaged tissue could fall off her body.
Scabies is a condition caused by burrowing skin mites. It is highly infectious and can easily pass from one person to the next. It is also highly treatable if diagnosed by medical personnel. In this situation, however, the elderly patient went without diagnosis or treatment for months or even years. The infestation progressed to so severe a point that she developed septicemia, an infection that eventually killed her. The family of the deceased is pursuing a civil claim in the matter.
Medical professionals should act in the best interest of their patients
Elderly patients are often at increased risk for abuse and neglect. Medical professionals, including doctors and nurses, who care for these people should do everything in their power to protect them and provide adequate medical care. In situations where professionals fail to diagnose or treat an obvious condition, patients can suffer needlessly and die prematurely.
In these situations, family members can advocate on behalf of their loved ones. Moving them to a new facility and seeking compensation for injuries is often a good place to start. For those who discover neglect only after it becomes a fatal issue, as in this case, medical neglect and wrongful death claims may be the best way to seek justice.