After Hip Surgery, Elderly Patient Develops Stage Four Bed Sore At Hospital

A Canadian woman developed a stage-four pressure ulcer after spending several weeks at a hospital recovering from hip surgery. The woman, Lola Chiasson Hawkins, had a bed sore so deep it reached to her bone by the time the hospital staff recognized the severity of the problem and took corrective measures. Perhaps even worse, her stage-four bed sore, the most severe kind, was only discovered because of her family’s diligence.

According to her children, Hawkins developed the bed sore after spending fifteen days in the hospital recovering from hip surgery and a bout of pneumonia that followed her surgery. When told by the hospital doctors that their mother had a pressure ulcer from being unable to move during her recovery, the children assumed the doctors would begin treating and caring for the ulcer. Unfortunately, this was not the case. A full 21 days after being originally diagnosed with the pressure ulcer, the children said the room had a smell so foul that it was difficult to even stay inside of the hospital room with their mother. Because the nurses and hospital staff seemed unconcerned, the children began to investigate on their own and learned the pressure ulcer had become much worse – apparently ignored and untreated by the hospital nurses and doctors. One of the children, speaking to CBC.ca, said the sight of the bedsore made him “shocked and sickened.”

The pressure ulcer had become an open wound at the base of his mother’s spine that was over two-centimeters, or almost one-inch deep. After bringing the horrific sore to the attention of the hospital staff, the nurses attempted to use a V.A.C. Veraflo machine to drain the wound. According to the doctors, the wound should have been drained daily since it was discovered, however, the nurses did not even know how to use the V.A.C. Veraflo machine, reportedly saying “What’s this machine? What does it do?” to each other while trying to operate it for the first time.

Because bedsores are often preventable and can be treated in many cases, the family says they “want answers” although, at this time, state they are not interested in filing a lawsuit. In addition to answers about how their mother could be treated so poorly by the hospital, the family is seeking to transfer their mother to a different hospital – a request that has been met with “growing hostility” from staff members. The family also claims they are being denied access to their mother’s medical files, preventing them from finding out more information about the hospital’s actions.

The family describes what happens tot heir mother as a tragedy, “What happened to Mom – she went in with a broken hip. It healed up, even with her diabetes, really, really good. And she ended up with a stage four bedsore. So we’re losing Mom, when Mom should be home eating codfish and having a good time with her family.”

The nursing home attorneys at Gallivan & Gallivan represent victims of neglect that develop avoidable pressure sores / bedsores.  Contact us today to discuss your potential case.

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