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Lawsuit Alleges Patient’s Death Due to Nursing Neglect

A wrongful death lawsuit filed against a nursing home in Richmond, Virginia highlights the dangers of pressure ulcers and reveals the pain and suffering patients go through when their caregivers ignore their conditions. Donald Shelton eventually developed respiratory distress and went into septic shock after multiple wounds across his body were allowed to fester and become deeply infected.

Allegations include the failure of the nursing home to wash Shelton, provide clean living quarters or to take measures to treat Shelton’s wound despite being made aware of their presence. 

Nursing Staff Completely Ignored Patient’s Condition

Donald Shelton was admitted to Madison Health and Rehabilitation Center with one pressure ulcer on his right buttock and a deep tissue wound on his left foot following a stay at Stanton Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and subsequent hospitalization at St. Joseph Mt. Sterling. The hospital established documentation of his injuries prior to his admittance to Madison Health and Rehabilitation.

Madison Health and Rehabilitation is a long term care facility that was supposed to continue Donald Shelton’s treatment and care for his needs moving forward, but his stay there lasted only eight days. The level of neglect shown is egregious in that he was not bathed during his stay and his health deteriorated at an alarming pace. In addition to the festering of his original wounds, he developed two bedsores that had caused necrosis all the way to the bone. His genitals were also in a necrotic state and appeared black, according to the plaintiff in the lawsuit.

After eight days of suffering due to neglect, Shelton was admitted to Baptist Health— suffering from respiratory distress and sepsis, which is a serious infection of the blood that occurs when bacteria spread from a wound into the bloodstream. These bacteria are then able to attack organs throughout the entire body. Nothing could be done to save Shelton’s life and he passed away a day later.

Vicarious Liability Claimed as Affiliated Companies are Dragged into Nursing Abuse Lawsuit

Among the defendants listed in the lawsuit are Madison Health and Rehabilitation Center’s affiliated companies. Vicarious liability occurs when a company is held directly accountable for actions of employees or partners due to policies that are considered negligent or abusive. The administrator of Shelton’s estate alleges that all of the companies associated with Madison Health and Rehabilitation Center contributed to Shelton’s injuries and death through the systemic promotion of understaffing, poor budget practices, policy and protocols that neglect patient needs and other systemic failures that suggest blatant disregard for the patients these companies seek to serve.

The facility’s nursing director is also named in the lawsuit, implying that the administration of any nursing home should be aware of such incidents of gross negligence. Shelton was denied medical attention for existing wounds, did not receive any form of hygiene over eight days and his dietary needs were ignored. It is also evident that there was no treatment plan in place which addressed his conditions and risks.

Simple attention, repositioning and medication were all that were needed to treat Shelton’s wounds and to prevent the development of others. The extreme lack of compassion shown by caregivers and the administration have prompted the plaintiff to seek punitive damages as compensation for the victim’s suffering, emotional anguish, loss of dignity and complete lack of quality of living.

Nursing Neglect Cases are Becoming Commonplace

The nursing injury lawyers of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers take on an alarming number of cases arising due to neglect. It is easy to demonize nursing staff members, but we recognize that their errors are often only the symptom of a systemic problem that has developed with the rise in prominence of for profit nursing chains and the drastic defunding of senior healthcare funding. Simply put, it is often not the staffers’ faults for being stretched thin and unable to devote adequate time to every patient.

Instead, the fault lies with the nursing companies themselves, the way they are administrated and their policies and protocols. Understaffing sends a clear message to the public that demands a response— profits over people. Our response must be aggressive and unforgiving by demanding negligent nursing centers suffer severe financial penalties for such carelessness and greed.


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