Doctor failed to detect bed sores on elderly Illinois patient

Illinois retirees or disabled workers, as well as their loved ones, may have certain apprehensions about the subject of group care or other long-term care placement options, and for good reason. The financial aspect of such a placement or arrangement is enough to cause even the most diligent planners to worry. However, when reports surface of negligent care or medical malpractice at such placements, Illinois readers may wonder where they can turn.

A recent report from an office of the Illinois Department of Human Services cited inadequate training and oversight among the reasons for one developmentally disabled woman’s negligent care at a Springfield group home. The woman developed pressure sores, also known as bed sores, which led to a fatal infection.

Yet the oversight at the nursing home may not have been just among staff members. A doctor who examined the elderly woman at an ideal time to intervene — almost three months prior to her death — didn’t even look at an open sore on her buttocks. Staff at the facility allegedly failed to alert the doctor to the wound. The doctor also stated that the facility often referred him patients lacking adequate medical records, charts or documentation.

Medical professionals and doctors receive training so that they can detect possible issues and correctly diagnose conditions. That standard of care is generally set according to standards practiced by other peers in the same profession. In the case of elderly or disabled patients, special considerations may also be required, given their limited mobility or communication skills.

In this case, the woman was 71 years old and had cerebral palsy. Given her permanent assignment to group care, it may have been negligent for the doctor not to perform a physical — which may have revealed the open sore and prompted medical intervention and treatment. Unfortunately, the doctor’s possible failure to diagnose the woman’s condition may have led to her death.

Source: sj-r.com, “Problems at UCP home outlined in state report,” Dean Olsen, April 13, 2013

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Doctor failed to detect bed sores on elderly Illinois patient