Elders and disabled people often suffer from underlying health conditions that make them vulnerable to foot and leg complications. Because many of these individuals are vision-impaired, or their mobility is decreased, they are unable to spot the symptoms related to such complications. In addition, those who suffer from cognitive disorders often cannot remember to inspect their feet or perform daily foot care.
The most common foot and leg complications experienced by those in long-term health facilities are:
People with peripheral neuropathy lack sensation in their feet and lower legs. They may not feel when a blister, cut or decubitus pressure ulcer has developed on their feet. For this reason, caregivers must regularly assess the foot and leg condition of all elders and disabled people entrusted to their care. In some cases, failure to assess the foot and leg conditions of patients can lead to a necessary amputation.
Any decrease in circulation to the feet of an elder or disabled person will generally increase the possibility that they will develop a decubitus pressure ulcer on their feet. Once an ulcer or other wound develops, decreased blood supply further reduces their ability to heal.
The attorneys at The Gebler Firm, PC, handled a tragic case involving a woman who suffered from Lou Gehrig's disease. When her adult sons could no longer care for her at home, she admitted herself to a nursing home. The disease progressed so that more hands-on care was required, and her family became concerned that she was not getting the care she needed. Every time a family member voiced this concern, they were reassured that everything possible was being done. The caregivers repeatedly assured them that the woman was assisted with bathing, hygiene and eating on a daily basis. Naturally, the family trusted the nursing home staff. They believed what they were told and attributed her declining condition to the progression of her disease.
One day, the eldest son received a call from the facility, stating that his mother was sent to the hospital to have a feeding tube inserted. When he arrived at the hospital, a nurse approached him and asked what had happened to his mother's feet. She then pulled back the sheets, revealing that her feet were charcoal black from rotting tissue. The son was then told that his mother was suffering from overwhelming sepsis and that nothing could be done to save her life.
Nobody at the nursing home had told the family about any problem with the woman's feet, nor had they mentioned an infection. One of her sons had noticed that she was wearing socks during his last several visits, but the staff told him this was to keep her feet warm. An investigation established that the facility was grossly understaffed, such that it was "mathematically impossible" for nurses to provide even the minimum amount of care and services mandated by law. A medical expert testified that the woman died as a "result of extreme, prolonged neglect; specifically, deprivation of nourishment and fluids and failure to monitor her weight, intake and output and the condition of her skin and extremities."
Unfortunately, this type of neglect is not an isolated event. Many of our clients developed severe decubitus pressure ulcers on their feet simply because facility staff failed to assess the patient on a regular basis.
If you suspect that your loved one developed foot or leg complications due to neglectful care, contact the nursing home negligence lawyers at The Gebler Firm, PC for a free consultation. We are available to speak with you by phone at 818-876-9600, or you may submit an online consultation request.
We would be honored to speak with you about your rights and explain the options that are available. We do not charge any attorney fees unless we obtain a recovery. With offices in Calabasas and Long Beach, we proudly serve clients throughout California.
Note: We know this is a difficult time, but don't delay. The law limits the amount of time you and your loved one have to pursue legal action. In some cases, this can be as short as six months.
Disclaimer: The information on this site is for informational and educational purposes only. None of the medical information is intended to be a substitute for professional medical judgment. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.