Amputations may be Caused by Nursing Home Neglect
Amputation may be a sign of nursing home neglect. Amputations in the elderly are a drastic medical intervention, often considered when no other viable option to save the appendage through conservative medical treatments exist. Although sometimes the need for amputation is unavoidable, amputation procedures may also be necessitated by nursing home malpractice. Situations in which an elderly patient is considered for am amputation should be heavily measured, as they come with a large physical and emotional toll for the patient.
Reasons for Amputation in Nursing Home Patients
Amputation in nursing home patients often result with a chronic disease is mismanaged or neglected. For example, an elderly person who suffers a pressure ulcer may require an amputation to remove infected or necrotic tissue. Nursing home residents whose diabetes mellitus or peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is poorly controlled are at higher risk for an amputation. While some amputations cannot be prevented, many occur because of neglectful care of nursing home staff. In this situation, a nursing home attorney can help your loved one recover compensation for their damages.
Types of Amputation
Transtibial Amputations are performed to the tibia, or shinbone. A transfemoral amputation, which is also known as an above the knee amputation, is another common type of amputation in the elderly. These types of amputations often result in the patient having a loss of function that, at least initially, requires a wheelchair for mobility. This can result in the patient having increased stress on their cardiovascular system, as the patient needs to use their arms to move the wheelchair. In elderly patients with cardiac comorbidities, this added stress can be particularly risky.
Effects of Amputation on Nursing Home Residents
The physical effects of amputation on an nursing home resident should not be taken lightly. Elderly amputees often suffer from pain associated with the amputation. Nearly all patients experience painless phantom limb sensation, while 55% to 85% experience phantom limb pain. This pain often requires undesirable use of dangerous pain medication by nursing home patients, such as opioids. The amputation site frequently requires wound treatments until the nub can heal. Nursing homes are notorious for poor infection control. When a surgical incision is not properly cared for, an infection can occur and further complicate the patient’s recovery from an amputation.
It can take months after surgery for the wound site to heal enough for a prothesis fitting. This means that the nursing home patient might suffer with limited mobility both during the healing phase and as the patient becomes adept at utilizing the prothesis. Even when elderly patients are properly fitted for a prosthetic, approximately 60% of them abandon it within six months. Patients who suffer an amputation due to neglect at an assisted living or nursing care facility might become debilitated to the point that return to a community setting is no longer feasible. The costs for ongoing medical care can skyrocket and deplete the finances of an elderly patient who suffered a preventable amputation.
Psychologically, the nursing home resident may suffer through phases of grief and bereavement for the lost limb. Depression and anxiety are common in patients who are anticipating amputation and following an amputation. This can manifest in sleep disturbance, irritability, and social withdrawal. The patient may be overly sensitive to perceived negative attitudes regarding their disability.
When to Call a Nursing Home Attorney
If you suspect that your loved one suffered an amputation that was the result of medical negligence at a nursing home they may have the right to seek compensation for their pain and suffering. A Pennsylvania nursing home attorney can help you pursue fair compensation for patient’s whose health has been compromised by preventable amputation while in a nursing home. It’s important that you have the expertise of a nursing home attorney to seek fair compensation for the emotional and physical injuries caused by preventable amputations. Our nursing home lawyers will take the time to listen to your unique situation and help protect your legal rights.
Why wait? Our skilled Pennsylvania nursing home attorneys are here for you. Contact us today. The consultation is free and there is no obligation.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice.