Fecal Impaction & Bowel Obstructions in Nursing Homes

The nursing home neglect lawyers handle cases involving the failure to diagnose and treat a bowel obstruction, or fecal impaction, in a nursing home resident.  A fecal impaction is a medical emergency that can be fatal if there is a delay in diagnosis and treatment. Small intestinal obstructions account for 20% of surgical admissions to hospitals.

It is essential that the nursing home staff pay attention to irregular bowel movements or complaints of constipation by a resident.  Many times, the resident is unable to make the complaint or describe the problem due to dementia or other issues.  Therefore, the nurses must identify the problem and take prompt action.fecal impaction and bowel obstructions in nursing homes

The diagnosis of a bowel obstruction, or fecal impaction, is made based upon the complaints, symptoms, and presentation of the patient. It is essential that a physician or nurse take a detailed history from the patient an perform pay attention to the resident and perform a proper physical examination to diagnose this condition. A misdiagnosis of a patient with an intestinal obstruction can lead to nursing home neglect lawsuit.

Common symptoms and complaints that should point toward a diagnosis of a bowel obstruction include:

  • Abdominal pain -Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Fever and Tachycardia (increased heart rate)
  • Previous abdominal or pelvic surgery
  • Bad Breath

Several findings on physical exams can lead to a diagnosis of an bowel obstruction, especially in connection with the common symptoms and complaints. These include:

  • Abdominal distention
  • Intestinal sounds
  • Blood during rectal examination
  • Fever and Tachycardia

In addition to the symptoms and complaints, there are several tests and studies that are used by doctors to make the diagnosis of an intestinal obstruction. These include abdominal x-rays, CT scans, ultrasonography, and blood tests. It is essential that a physician who suspects that a patient is suffering from an intestinal obstruction perform these tests immediately.  The nursing staff must immediately notify the doctor of any concerns about fecal impaction.  When diagnosed, emergency surgery is often necessary in conjunction with IV anti-biotics, give both before and after surgery.

Time is of the essence in both the diagnosis and treatment of bowel obstructions. If untreated, strangulated obstructions cause death in 100% of patients. If surgery is performed within 36 hours, the death rate decreases to 8%. For surgeries performed after 36 hours, the mortality rate increases to 25%.

When a patient suffers injuries or death due to the delay in diagnosis and treatment of a bowel obstruction, it may give rise to a nursing home negligence lawsuit.  If a patient dies as a result, this warrants the filing of a Michigan wrongful death lawsuit. The surviving family members can seek compensation for the loss of a loved one.

If you suspect that you or a family member has been the victim of nursing home neglect due to a fecal impaction or bowel obstruction,  you should contact our law firm office immediately to discuss your case. There are strict time limitations for filing medical malpractice cases in Michigan and if you wait too long, your case may be barred forever. Call our top rated Michigan medical malpractice lawyers now at (800) 606-1717.

Osteomyelitis From Pressure Sores & Bed Sores in Nursing Homes

The Buckfire & Buckfire P.C nursing home injury lawyers regularly file lawsuits against Michigan nursing homes for patients who suffer from osteomyelitis caused by pressure sores and bed sores while residing at the facility. Many residents are at risk for developing pressures sores due to a number of medical conditions, so it is crucial that the Michigan nursing home takes all necessary and appropriate measures to prevent them from occurring.  When residents are properly cared for and monitored, pressure sores are completely preventable.

Osteomyelitis & Pressure Sores | Bed Sores

Osteomyelitis occurs when bacteria causes an infection in the bone.  In fact, the occurrence of osteomyelitis in full-thickness pressure ulcers and bed sores ranges from 17% to 32%.  When a bed sore or pressure ulcers reaches stage 4, it is harder to heal, which may result in an increased hospital stay.

In severe pressure sores (stage 4), the bacteria enters the body through the open wound and attacks the bone. Once the bone becomes infected, enzymes are released that restrict the body’s ability to heal. When left untreated osteomyelitis can spread into the bone marrow and surrounding joints, leading to further medical complications, such as amputation or even death.

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Sepsis Infection Due to Untreated Pressure Sore in Michigan Nursing Home

Our Michigan nursing home attorneys have significant experience in representing patients who have suffered from sepsis infection due to an untreated pressure sore, bed sore, or open wound.  Nursing home residents often develop pressure sores because the nursing home staff failed to take the proper precautions to prevent and treat the sore at the early stages.  Often, residents are at high risks for developing pressure sores due to a number of conditions.  It is the position of the nursing home staff to assess the patient and develop a care plan to prevent them from developing.

Sepsis infection is an illness caused by bacteria in the bloodstream. These bacteria frequently enter the body through open wounds, bed sores, or pressure sores.  Pressure sores that are not treated upon early stages are at risk for a sepsis infection.  Nursing home patients are often more vulnerable to a sepsis infection because their immune systems are worn down. Sepsis is a serious illness, which in severe cases can lead to death. Other serious medical conditions can be caused by sepsis as well, including, organ failure.

Sepsis Infection Symptoms 

To be diagnosed with sepsis, you must exhibit at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Fever above 101.3 F (38.5 C) or below 95 F (35 C)
  • Heart rate higher than 90 beats a minute
  • Respiratory rate higher than 20 breaths a minute
  • Probable or confirmed infection

Your diagnosis will be considered severe sepsis if you also exhibit at least one of the following signs and symptoms, which indicate organ dysfunction:

  • Areas of mottled skin
  • Significantly decreased urine output
  • Abrupt change in mental status
  • Decrease in platelet count
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Abnormal heart function

The nursing home staff, including both doctors and nurses, should be highly qualified and able to identify and diagnose these symptoms immediately.  If untreated or not properly treated, the infection will worsen and cause significant injury or even death. (more…)

Failure to Treat Urinary Tract Infection in Michigan Nursing Home Patients

The Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. nursing home neglect lawyers represent Michigan patients who develop serious urinary tract infections (UTI) in a nursing home.  Many hospitalized patients who are put on a catheter are at risk for developing Urinary tract infections.  Urinary tract infections in patients with catheters are a serious cause of infection.  In fact statistics prove, more than one million infections each year are reported in hospitals and nursing homes.

 The greater number of consecutive days the catheter remains unchanged, the risk of bacteria in residents increases from 3% to 10%.  That bacteria can develop into urinary tract infection.  Serious medical conditions can develop due to these infections.  One condition that could develop is sepsis, and if undiagnosed or untreated it can cause the death of the resident.

Urinary Tract Infections Symptoms

The severity of symptoms with urinary tract infection depends on the individual.  Patients who develop UTI, most often demonstrate these symptoms:

  • A strong, persistent urge to urinate
  • A burning sensation when urinating
  • Urine that appears cloudy
  • Urine that appears red, pink, or a brownish color – a sign that there may be blood in the urine
  • Strong smelling urine
  • Pelvic pain in women
  • Rectal pain in men

When urinary tract infections affect the kidney, residents have signs and symptoms which include:

  • High fever
  • Shaking and chills
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Upper back and side pain

If infections of the bladder and urethra occur, symptoms may include:

  • Pain in the area
  • Blood in the urine, and burning with urination. (more…)
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