Elderly Man Passes Away from Preventable Pressure Ulcer

An Australian man passed away from a preventable pressure injury/ulcer he received while at an Australian hospital. According to ABC North and West, the pressure ulcer, or bed sore, developed and became so severe that the Australian’s organs shut down. Now, the family of Peter James McBride is demanding answers from the hospital and its staff.

After falling twice on February 7, 2015, McBride’s wife admitted him to the hospital where he spent the next eight weeks on bed rest before transferring to an elder care facility. McBride died only days after arriving at the elder care facility. According to the coroner, the Australian man’s death was entirely preventable and pointed towards several lapses that paint a picture of an incompetent hospital staff and a severe lack of appropriate procedures necessary to prevent pressure injuries/ulcers.

First, McBride received treatment from three separate doctors while receiving care at the hospital. Apparently, these doctors failed to communicate and coordinate their patient’s care with each other. This led to McBride receiving a catheter by one doctor, only to have the catheter removed and then inserted again by the other doctors. Almost unbelievably, the notes on McBride’s chart do not indicate that any of the doctors or hospital staff treated the pressure ulcer which was the size of a football by the time he left the hospital. By the time he arrived at the elder care facility, the bed sore was infected and too large to be surgically closed.

According to medical reports, McBride did not even receive a pressure mattress, a commonly necessary practice in avoiding pressure ulcers in elderly or immobile patients. According to the hospital, it only had four active pressure mattresses, two of which were in the palliative care unit. Hospital representatives said McBride received a pressure mattress as soon as one became available. Another aggravating factor, according to the coroner, was the hospital staff’s administration of anti-psychotic medication. This type of medication is commonly used to sedate patients and make them more compliant. Elder care advocates state the use of widespread anti-psychotic medications is harmful and unethical.

McBride’s wife of over 60 years told the news station that she thought the pressure ulcer was only the size of a “10-cent piece” and the fact that McBride was catheterized for a full eight weeks incomprehensible. The hospital states they will increase the number of pressure mattresses and train all their doctors on pressure ulcers and catheters. In response to the coroner’s report and the hospital’s response, the wife says she hopes “it’ll save somebody else’s life.” The wife then added, “I will miss terribly.”

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