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After woman fell, pressure injuries never healed – $410,000 Settlement

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//September 29, 2019

After woman fell, pressure injuries never healed – $410,000 Settlement

Virginia Lawyers Weekly//September 29, 2019

In January 2015, an Alexandria woman fell in her home and broke her hip. She lay on the floor in her kitchen for between two and three hours before she was found by her son. The woman underwent surgery to repair her hip, and after a three-day hospital stay, was transferred to a skilled nursing facility. Approximately 72 hours into the woman’s stay at the nursing facility, nursing staff diagnosed her with deep tissue pressure injuries to her sacrum and both heels. The sacral injury eventually opened and became infected, and she was transferred back to the hospital for an emergency debridement, which required a diverting loop colostomy. Following the debridement, the woman completed rehabilitation of her hip and returned home. Approximately two years later, the woman passed due to breast cancer. Her sacral wound never closed, and her colostomy was never reversed.

A survival action was filed against the woman’s attending physicians and nursing home staff, alleging that they negligently failed to implement treatments to prevent the development and deterioration of her pressure injuries. The suit also alleged that the nursing home was understaffed. The defendants argued that the injury developed either while the woman was lying on her kitchen floor after falling, or while she was on her back on the operating table, and that deep tissue pressure injuries developed into open wounds despite optimal treatment. Medical records and physician and nursing home staff deposition testimony also stated that despite frequent turning and education, the woman continued to roll back onto her sacrum, stating that she did not like to lie on her side because it hurt her hip.

The case was unsuccessfully mediated, but eventually settled a few weeks before trial.


Type of action: Nursing home malpractice

Injuries alleged: Pressure injuries to the sacrum and bilateral heels

Court: Alexandria Circuit Court

Date resolved: Feb. 26, 2019

Verdict or settlement: Settlement

Amount: $410,000

Attorneys for plaintiff: Robert J. Stoney and Juli M. Porto, Fairfax

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