Our client was a 57 year old woman who was admitted to the hospital for an elective right knee replacement. During the surgery and postoperatively, she received epidural anesthesia and experienced great difficulty performing basic movements. For three days after the surgery, she complained of pain and discomfort on her buttocks. Although she complained, the nursing staff did not inspect the area, nor did they turn or reposition her to relieve the pressure on her buttocks. The nursing staff had a duty to perform both of these activities. They should have known that a patient with a right knee replacement would require regular turning and repositioning. A decubitus ulcer was allowed to form on our client’s buttocks due to the negligent treatment of the hospital nursing staff.
The decubitus ulcer on our client’s buttocks and sacrum required extensive, painful treatment, at the hospital and at a wound care facility. The treatment was embarrassing to our client because she had to expose her buttocks to hospital staff and those walking by her open room. Her wound therapy lasted for eight weeks. Even after she was discharged, the wound continued to require significant home care including the application of antibiotic ointment. The extensive care and treatment hindered her recovery from the right knee replacement by delaying the start of her rehabilitation and physical therapy.
The hospital nursing staff’s neglect in properly turning and repositioning our client resulted in her getting a decubitus ulcer. The pressure sore required extended care and treatment and was tremendously painful. Our client suffered significant scarring and disfigurement on her buttocks due to her decubitus ulcer. Moreover, our client was emotionally scarred from her inability to take care of herself and the embarrassment of having other people see her backside. The area continues to become irritable especially on warm days where she may perspire. Our client can no longer enjoy life as she once did. Any activity that requires sitting for long periods of time, such as church, is no longer comfortable for her. Our client can no longer work outside and garden, an activity in which she took great pride and enjoyment. Even basic daily functions, like sleeping on her back, are painful due to the sensitive scarring on her buttocks. The right knee replacement should have helped our client become more active, but, because of the decubitus ulcer, her activity levels have decreased. Todd Townsley and Sage Middleton were able to win this case at trial and on appeal. The hospital and the Patient’s Compensation Fund paid the full judgment.