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Family Files Suit Over “Horrendous” Nursing Home Death in Georgia

 Posted on April 26, 2018 in Nursing Home Abuse

Illinois nursing home neglect attorneyA woman who lived what her family called the “American dream” died in a manner that is only fitting of the worst nightmares, according to a recent lawsuit. An autopsy reported indicated that the 93-year-old passed away in a Georgia nursing home in 2015 as the result of “septicemia due to crusted scabies.” For those who may be unfamiliar, scabies is a contagious infestation of the skin caused by burrowing, parasitic mites—a wholly unacceptable condition for a patient contract, let alone die of, while under the care of a nursing home.

A Storied Life and Tragic Death

The woman was a small-town girl from North Carolina who moved to Virginia during World War II to work in a naval yard in Norfolk. She went on to do some modeling in New York City and later worked for a television station in Chicago. As the woman got older, she began to show symptoms of dementia, and her daughter moved her into a nursing home in LaFayette, Georgia in 2010.

Records obtained from the Georgia Department of Public Health show that officials received reports of scabies outbreaks at the LaFayette facility in 2013 and prior to her death in 2015. The nursing home’s own records show additional scabies cases in 2014 as well, according to court documents.

During her stay at the nursing home, the woman contracted scabies, which worsened over time. Photos of her before her death show that her skin was flaking off and that one of her hands had begun to turn black. Thick crusts had formed on parts of her skin, and lawyers for her family say that nursing home staff members were warned not to touch her over concerns that her hand “might fall off her body.”

The Truth About Scabies

A former chief medical examiner at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation was given the chance to review the woman’s autopsy report. “This is one of the most horrendous things I’ve ever seen in my career,” he said—a career that includes more than 86,000 conducted and supervised autopsies. He guessed that there were hundreds of millions of mites in the woman’s body at the time of her death and posited that it is not an exaggeration to say that she was basically eaten alive.

“Eaten alive” is a popular headline being used in connection with the case, but other medical professionals say that the term is hyperbolic. Scabies is certainly dangerous, especially if left untreated but Dr. Amesh Adalja from the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security said, “It’s not that the scabies mites themselves are killing.” Instead, the burrowing mites give bacteria better access to the interior of a person’s body. It is the bacteria that can cause infections, including septicemia—also known as sepsis.

Ongoing Lawsuit

The woman’s family has filed a lawsuit against PruittHealth, the for-profit company that owns the facility where the woman lived and died. The suit alleged that the nursing home did not provide the care the woman needed and, as a result, allowed her to die an agonizing death. Attorneys for PruittHealth denied all of the claims being made by the family.

Call a Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer Today

Unfortunately, incidents like this one are not as uncommon as one might think. Patients in nursing homes around the country are too often neglected and left without the care they need. If such neglect has caused your loved one to suffer an injury, contact an experienced Chicago nursing home abuse and neglect attorney for help. Call 312-535-4625 for a free consultation today.



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