WINCHESTER — The daughter of a woman who died less than two months after developing a bed sore on her left ankle while at the Evergreen Health & Rehabilitation Center is suing the nursing home for $3 million.
Rosalind Agatha Bell, 86, died Dec. 15, 2017, at Winchester Medical Center, according to a wrongful death lawsuit filed Monday in Winchester Circuit Court on behalf of Marjorie Ann Bell, Rosalind Bell’s daughter. The suit said when Rosalind Bell was admitted to Evergreen in May of 2007 she was at a high risk of developing bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers.
“Bell depended completely on the defendants for responsible pressure ulcer and wound prevention and treatment, to include care as basic as turning and re-positioning,” attorney Robert W. Carter Jr. wrote. “The defendants permitted Bell to develop a left outer ankle wound as early as Sept. 26, 2017.”
Carter said in an interview on Wednesday that Bell moved to Evergreen in 2007 due to health problems, which included chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, an umbrella term for a host of breathing problems. She also suffered from dementia, heart problems and high blood pressure. Bell was in significant pain when she was admitted to WMC on Dec. 14, 2017, and her doctor discussed amputating the ankle, according to the lawsuit.
Carter noted on Wednesday that Evergreen has a history of improperly treating bedsores, a common affliction among nursing home patients. Evergreen was cited by the Department of Health in 2016 for several problems including substandard treatment of bed sores and failure to maintain proper infection control.
In a settlement in March, the family of a 90-year-old woman who died after developing bedsores was awarded $300,000. The family, which sought $2.5 million, alleged the bedsores were caused by the staff failing to properly rotate the woman in bed.
Attorney Robert Zelnick, who received the lawsuit on behalf of Evergreen, said he wouldn’t be representing the nursing home in the suit and referred questions to Evergreen. Ramona Ringstaff, Evergeen administrator, didn’t return a call on Wednesday.
Evergreen’s website says the nursing home is a “state-of-the-art facility” with a team of “highly skilled and experienced medical professionals” following “personalized treatment plans” for patients. However, Carter said understaffing and substandard treatment led to Bell getting bedsores and going into septic shock — organ failure due to bacterial infections — which killed her.
“The staff was insufficient in number or had knowledge deficits about the proper means to care for Ms. Bell,” he said. “The development and deterioration of the wounds got as bad as it gets for wounds.”