Decubitus Ulcers Bedsores | Preventable But Deadly

Bedsores or Decubitus Ulcers Are Always Preventable If Proper Care is Given Graveyard

As a former Registerd Nurse (RN), attorney Robert J. Reeves used to treat patients in the Intensive Care Unit who were clinging to life from a Stage IV decubitus ulcer, or bedsore. This is a critical care situation where there is massive tissue, muscle,and even bone loss. After a bedsore begins, immediate and aggressive treatment must be undertaken to prevent more damage from blocked circulation and resulting infection. If the infection gets into the person’s bloodstream, they become “septic” and will die if the infection cannot be controlled and then reversed. The body suffers extremely high fevers, and the immune system is overwhelmed by infection. Blood cultures are drawn repeatedly, and massive doses of antibiotics are given to try and save the patient’s life. So how does such a life threatening condition begin? It starts when an immobile or bedridden person is not given proper hydration and nutrition and is not turned properly to prevent bedsores from forming.

In most situations, we see nursing home residents and patients with head injury or paraplegia cases. In elderly patients, inattentive care by staff can allow residents to become malnourished and dehydrated which sets up a perfect scenario for bedsores to start. They tend to become less mobile and even bedridden. If not encouraged to ambulate or left in bed or a wheelchair for several hours, skin breakdown can occur. If not detected promptly or skin care measures not employed, decubitus ulcers can quickly deteriorate, often within days. At that point, aggressive inpatient medical treatment will be required in an already immunosuppressed patient. If sepsis develops, many elderly patients simply cannot overcome the infection and will pass.

With head injury cases, these patients are being care for in hospitals and by specially trained professional staffs. They have specifically designed beds that constantly “move” in an attempt to prevent decubitus formation. The staff monitor fluid intake, usually by IV, and nutrition is supplied through a tube directly into the stomach. Many of these patients are on ventilators to breathe and are fighting to recover from a traumatic brain injury. If properly monitored and turned regularly, bedsores never get a chance to start. On reddened areas, skin integrity must be maintained by applying lotions and regular massaging to maintain proper circulation to the area.

Paraplegia and quadraplegia patients are, of course, the most vulnerable to bedsore formation and must be protected by hypervigilant care. Special care must be given at all times but especially during transport by ambulance for procedures and followup care. I have a recent case where a paraplegic patient was left on a hard stretcher for several hours waiting for an MRI scan. During that relatively brief period, the patient was not turned or repositioned. Several “reddened areas” in the usual “pressure points” were not detected, and skin breakdown started in just a few hours. People who are paralyzed already suffer from decreased circulation and are chronically under nourished and borderline dehydrated. As a result, bedsores quickly deteriorate without immediate and aggressive medical intervention. In this case, the patient died in her thirties after just a few days. How can this happen so fast? It is the deadly combination of inadequate hydration, nutrition, systemic circulation issues, and lowered immune response. No matter what the excuse given, bedsores are completely preventable in all cases. The more frail and vulnerable the patient; the more care is required. When proper care is not given, deadly results can occur quickly.

Nurse Investigated For Pill Theft in North Carolina

 

A Lincolnton, NC woman was fired this past week from her job as a nurse for allegedly taking prescription medication from the hospital.  Now, authorities with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the incident.

According to the Lincoln County, NC Sheriff, the Sheriff’s Office received a call on February 4th regarding a disobedient employee.  The Sheriff did not release the name of the nurse but said she had been fired because it was believed she was stealing a certain prescription medication.  The woman is apparently from Gaston County, NC, but the Sheriff said she has not been charged with any crimes yet, but charges would be pending the results of his investigation.

Also, Carolina HealthCare System is investigating the allegations and incident to determine more information.  The Hospital in Lincoln said that it is fully cooperating with any investigation by the Sheriff’s Office and would assist them in any matter brought before them.

If you or someone you know is facing prosecution for possession of a controlled substance, contact the law offices of Reeves, Aiken, and Hightower to consult with one of our criminal lawyers.  Our criminal attorneys handle many types of criminal cases in North and South Carolina and want to help you with your criminal drug charges.  We are licensed in both North and South Carolina, where you can contact us at 704-499-9000 or 877-374-5999 toll-free.

 

 

Rock Hill Woman Smothered to Death By Nursing Home Employee

A Rock Hill elderly woman was killed in November 2011, when her assisted living care nurse smothered the victim to death. The employee’s actions were discovered when she attempted to steal and cash checks from the victim’s banking account.

The 30-year-old former assisted living employee was charged with murder, and sentenced to life in prison this past Thursday. The 82-year-old victim was found dead in her shower at the Oak Bridge Terrace Assisted Residences, on the campus of Park Pointe Village Assisted Living facility in Rock Hill, SC. It was reported by the woman’s family that the body of the deceased was “badly bruised.”

An investigation discovered that the Rock Hill Police had been at the Park Pointe Village the day before the victim’s death, when it was reported that the victim’s checkbook had been stolen.The victim told the Rock Hill police that four checks had been written to the defendant that did not match her signature, totaling to $1,280. The checks were written between October 12 and November 1 of 2011.

The defendant had access to all of the assisted living residents, but was not at work at the time of the complaint, and was since suspended from her job. Later, it was discovered that the defendant had gotten another employee to let her into the facility when she murdered the victim. The defendant reportedly put a shower cap of the victim’s head, put her into the shower while running, and suffocated her.

The body was found around 6:30 a.m., when CPR was attempted, but sadly failed.

The victim’s family is suing the assisted living home for the wrongful death of their loved one.

Elder abuse is a crime that is on the rise due to the victim’s vulnerability. If you suspect something is not quite right, call us and we will help you find out if you are worried about nothing or if something really is wrong. If your loved one has already been injured or worse, call us immediately. Mr. Reeves stands ready to bring his medical background and years of nursing home litigation experience to your family. First, we want answers. And then, we want justice. Call the lawoffices of Reeves, Aiken, and Hightower today at 704-499-9000 or 877-374-5999 toll-free. 

Rock Hill Woman’s Estate Sues Assisted Living Home for Wrongful Death

The estate of a woman killed last year at a Rock Hill Assisted living home is suing the facility and several of its employees, alleging that the crime could have been prevented.  Pauline Cook, 82, was found dead in her shower the day after she reported to staff members of the home and police that someone had been forging her checks.

Braquette Walton, a 30-year-old nurse’s assistant who eventually confessed to the crime, was arrested in connection with the killing.  Walton was charged with murder, abuse and neglect of a vulnerable adult resulting in death, burglary and forgery.

Other employees being implicated in connection with the crime allegedly knew of Cook’s suspicions of the forgery and took no immediate actions to prevent the criminal conduct.  At the time of the killing Walton was not scheduled to work, and therefore, had no authorization and was not permitted to be on the premises of the facility.  Nevertheless, Walton managed to bypass several security measures, wrongfully enter the home, and sneak into the victim’s room unnoticed.  There, a violent struggle ensued and Walton ultimately smothered the woman death.  Cook’s lifeless body was then dragged to the shower in an attempt to make it appear as though she accidentally fell while bathing.

Cook’s estate is seeking compensation and punitive damages for wrongful death, negligence and wonton and reckless misconduct.  Walton is being held at Moss Justice Center in York and faces 30 years to life in prison for the murder charge alone.

South Carolina Attorneys: Reeves, Aiken, and Hightower, LLP

If the unthinkable happens in your life, call the experienced wrongful death attorneys of Reeves, Aiken & Hightower LLP. Our seasoned litigators have over 75 years combined trial experience. Our team of personal injury attorneys include former insurance defense lawyers, a former Registered Nurse (RN), and former criminal prosecutor. We can investigate all aspects of a serious accident and hold all parties accountable for your loss. Call us today and speak directly with one of our lawyers at 704-499-9000 or 877-374-5999 toll free. We have offices in Charlotte and throughout South Carolina. We would be honored to have an opportunity to help you and your family get through this most difficult time in your lives.

Common Signs of Nursing Home Abuse – SC Nursing Home Negligence

It is a scary prospect putting one’s loved ones in a nursing home, trusting their care to others.  It is even worse when the staff you trust could be abusing him or her.  How would you know?  You can’t always be there with them.  Listed below, for your convenience and comfort, are the most common signs of nursing home neglect.

Signs of Physical Abuse

  • Unexplained injuries
  • Frequent falls
  • Wounds, cuts, or bruises – open or undressed
  • Improper dosing or dispensing of medication
  • Unreasonable or forceful restraint – either chemical restraint or physical restraint
  • Deprivation of food and water
  • Malnourishment
  • Dehydration
  • and in the extreme actual assault or rape

Signs of Emotional, Mental, or Verbal Abuse

  • Intimidation by Staff
  • Changes in Behavior
  • Changes in Personality
  • Unusual behavior
  • Becoming Withdrawn or Uncommunicative
  • Agitation
  • Becoming Newly Overemotional
  • Threatening, humiliating, insulting, or ignoring friends and family

Signs of Neglect

  • Bed sores (decubitus ulcers or pressure ulcers)
  • Infections
  • Failure to provide emergency care
  • Poor hygiene – when staff refuses to help with personal hygiene
  • Safety and health hazards that staff refuse to solve
  • Poor sanitary conditions in room
  • Poor access to medical services
  • Disregard of necessities beyond food or water
  • Eloping or Wandering

Nursing Home Negligence Attorneys of Reeves, Aiken & Hightower

If you expect someone you love has been injured or died due to nursing home neglect, contact the skilled nursing home attorneys at Reeves, Aiken & Hightower.  An experienced attorney can ensure that you and your loved ones get what you deserve from a negligent nursing facility.  Call us today at 877-374-5999, or contact us here, for a private consultation.

SC NC Accident Attorney Robert J. Reeves Inducted into SC Super Lawyers for 2012

At Reeves, Aiken & Hightower, LLP, all of our attorneys are seasoned trial lawyers with over 70 years combined experience. Whether it is criminal or civil, our litigators are regularly in Court fighting for our clients. Two of our firm’s partners, Art Aiken and Robert Reeves, are inducted lifetime members of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Mr. Reeves has also been named one of the Top 100 lawyers for South Carolina in 2012 by the National Trial Lawyers Organization. And most recently, Mr. Reeves has been included in the SC Super Lawyers for 2012. Below is the review and selection process by which new members are chosen. Our attorneys include a former SC prosecutor, a former public defender, a former Registered Nurse (RN), and former insurance defense attorneys. As a result of their varied backgrounds, they understand the potential criminal, insurance, and medical aspects of complex injury cases. We would welcome an opportunity to sit down and personally review your case. Compare our attorneys’ credentials to any other law firm. Then call us today at 877-374-5999 for a private consultation. Or visit our firm’s website at www.rjrlaw.com.

Super Lawyers Selection Process

 Super Lawyers Selection Process Blessed by Courts and Bar Associations Across the Country

Bar associations and courts across the country have recognized the legitimacy of the Super Lawyers selection process. Most recently, the New Jersey Supreme Court upheld the findings of a Special Master assigned by the court to, among other things, examine the details of our process. In his July 2008 report, the Special Master lauded our lawyer-rating process, stating:

“[The Super Lawyers selection process] is a comprehensive, good-faith and detailed attempt to produce a list of lawyers that have attained high peer recognition, meet ethical standards, and have demonstrated some degree of achievement in their field.”

“Suffice to say, the selection procedures employed by [Super Lawyers] are very sophisticated, comprehensive and complex.”

“It is absolutely clear from this record that [Super Lawyers does] not permit a lawyer to buy one’s way onto the list, nor is there any requirement for the purchase of any product for inclusion in the lists or any quid pro quo of any kind or nature associated with the evaluation and listing of an attorney or in the subsequent advertising of one’s inclusion in the lists.”

Overview

Super Lawyers selects attorneys using a rigorous, multiphase rating process. Peer nominations and evaluations are combined with third party research. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. Selections are made on an annual, state-by-state basis.

The objective is to create a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of outstanding attorneys that can be used as a resource for attorneys and consumers searching for legal counsel. Since Super Lawyers is intended to be used as an aid in selecting a lawyer, we limit the lawyer ratings to those who can be hired and retained by the public, i.e., lawyers in private practice and Legal Aid attorneys.

The Super Lawyers selection process involves three basic steps: creation of the candidate pool; evaluation of candidates by the research department; and peer evaluation by practice area.

Step One: Creation of the Candidate Pool

Lawyers enter the candidate pool by being formally nominated by a peer or if identified by the research department during the research process.

Formal nominations

Once a year, we invite lawyers in each state to nominate the top attorneys they’ve personally observed in action. Lawyers may nominate attorneys in their own firm, but these nominations count only if each in-firm nomination is matched by at least one out-firm nomination.

Each nomination carries a point value. An out-firm nomination has substantially greater point value than an in-firm nomination. Lawyers cannot nominate themselves, and must limit their nominations to others who practice in the same state.

Our procedures and database have several safeguards that prevent lawyers from “gaming” the system. For example, we track who nominates whom. This helps us detect any excessive “back-scratch” nominations (lawyers nominating each other) and “block nominations” (where members of the same law firm all cast identical nominations). We also prohibit lawyers from engaging in “campaigning” or solicitation of nominations from other lawyers.

While important, the nomination phase is simply the first step in our process. It puts lawyers on our radar for further research and evaluation, and awards points in our rating system. But we limit the value of those points so that no matter how many nominations one receives, it will not guarantee selection.

Our attorney-led research staff searches for lawyers who have attained certain honors, results or credentials, which indicate a high degree of peer recognition or professional competence. For example, certification as a specialist in a particular area of practice, or admission to prestigious colleges or academies, e.g., The American College of Trial Lawyers. The staff identifies these credentials by reviewing a proprietary list of database and online sources, including national and local legal trade publications.

Most of the lawyers we identify in this process have also been nominated by their peers. Occasionally, however, we find outstanding lawyers who have been overlooked in the nomination process. These may include: lawyers with national litigation practices who rarely appear in the courts of their home jurisdiction; lawyers in smaller firms or from smaller communities; and lawyers practicing in less visible or highly specialized practice areas.

Informal nominations

Throughout the year, readers, clients and attorneys who are not eligible to formally nominate (that is, actively licensed to practice in the same state as the nominee) send us names of lawyers we should consider for inclusion. Though no points are awarded, we add these lawyers to the candidate pool for further research and evaluation.

Step Two: Evaluation of Lawyers in Candidate Pool

Our research department evaluates each candidate based on these 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement: verdicts and settlements; transactions; representative clients; experience; honors and awards; special licenses and certifications; position within law firm; bar and or other professional activity; pro bono and community service as a lawyer; scholarly lectures and writings; education and employment background; and other outstanding achievements.

These indicators are not treated equally; some have a higher maximum point value than others.

Step Three: Peer Evaluation by Practice Area

In this step, also known as the “blue ribbon review,” candidates are grouped according to their primary areas of practice. The candidates in each practice area with the highest point totals from steps one and two above are asked to serve on a blue ribbon panel. The panelists are then provided a list of candidates from their practice areas to review, rating them on a scale of one to ten.

Final Selection

Candidates are grouped into four firm-size categories. Those with the highest point totals from each category are selected. This means solo and small firm lawyers are compared with other solo and small firm attorneys, and large firm lawyers compete with other large firm lawyers.  Five percent of the total lawyers in the state are selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers.

Before Publishing

The research staff checks each candidate’s standing with the local licensing authority. Each candidate is asked to aver that they have never been subject to disciplinary or criminal proceedings.

Final Internet searches are performed on each candidate to ensure there are no outstanding matters that would reflect adversely on the lawyer. We also contact each lawyer to ensure accuracy of all published information.

Publication

The final published list represents no more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state. The lists are published annually in state and regional editions of Super Lawyers magazines and in inserts and special advertising sections in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers. All attorneys selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers, regardless of year, can be found on superlawyers.com.