Nursing home abuse and neglect are serious issues in the United States. As the cost of health care increases and reimbursement rates stay the same, nursing homes are increasingly taking drastic measures to cut costs and increase their bottom lines. As a result, patient care greatly suffers. Nursing homes are severely understaffed, leading to neglect. Patients often end up with serious injuries or medical conditions, which could have been easily prevented with proper, timely care.
Sadly, this was the case for a 93-year-old woman who died in a Georgia nursing home in 2015 after being eaten alive by scabies. It was found that she was eaten alive by millions of mites over several months or years. The mites had burrowed under her skin and were laying eggs all over her body. This caused thick crusts to form on her skin. At the time of her death, her right hand was black and ready to fall off due to blood poisoning caused by large amounts of bacteria generated by the scabies. The official cause of death was septicemia, a form of blood poisoning, due to crusted scabies.
The woman, who once worked as a model and an assistant at a TV station, was moved to Shepherd Hills Nursing Home in Lafayette, Georgia after developing dementia. She lived there for five years until she died of the scabies infestation.She spent the last six months of her life in constant pain as she was quite literally being eaten alive from the inside out.
State health officials were aware that there was a scabies outbreak present in the nursing home, but the facility was never inspected. Shepherd Hills had multiple scabies outbreaks over the years. The facility also has a history of health violations, including medication errors. In the past two years, the nursing facility has been ordered to pay $337,786 in penalties. Shepherd Hills currently has a one-star rating, the lowest rating available.
Scabies is actually a common problem in nursing homes. Older people are more likely to get scabies because skin gets thinner as we age. However, scabies is also extremely easy to treat if timely diagnosed and treated. The deceased woman may have survived had she received proper treatment.
The family of the woman recently filed a lawsuit against Pruitt Health, which owns Shepherd Hills Nursing Home and dozens of other nursing homes. The lawsuit alleges that the facility failed to follow procedures to prevent scabies from spreading throughout the resident population. It also alleges that the woman died an agonizing death and was not receiving proper care. The most troubling allegation is the lawsuit is that nursing home staff members were told not touch the woman’s right hand for fear that it might fall off.
The nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers of Nadrich and Cohen extend their heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the victim. No one should ever have to endure such negligent care, injuries or pain. We are committed to righting these wrongs when they happen, by pursuing lawsuits on behalf of victims and their families.
If you or a loved one has suffered from abuse or neglect in a nursing facility, immediately contact the nursing home abuse attorneys at Nadrich & Cohen for a free and confidential case evaluation. Call us today at 1-800-718-4658.