A jury ordered Noland Hospital Montgomery to pay $300,000 due to medical malpractice that led an 86-year-old woman to develop severe bedsores.
The family of Katherine Hopkins, who died May 16, 2012 from unrelated complications, sued the long-term acute care hospital located at Jackson Hospital claiming the nurses there failed to turn and re-position the elderly woman causing bedsores.
“This was a very important case to set the standard for the care that hospitals provide to the elderly. I think the hospital thought that they could convince the family that this was normal and that the bedsore was unavoidable because of her age.” – J.P. Sawyer
A Montgomery County jury rendered the verdict on Monday following a five-day trial.
According to the lawsuit, Hopkins was transferred to Noland on Dec. 27, 2011 after being treated at Jackson Hospital for injuries she suffered while in a nursing home. Hopkins had abrasions to her groin, buttocks and perineal area at that time.
While in the acute care hospital, Hopkins skin was allowed to substantially deteriorate, the suit states. Nearly two weeks after being admitted, she had an “open” area to her coccyx.
The victim’s family claims the staff at Nolan Hospital failed to address the change in Hopkins’ condition, and by Jan. 12, 2012 Hopkins had an open Stage 4 pressure sore on her coccyx and a pressure sore on her left heel.
The pressure sore on her coccyx continued to deteriorate while she was at Noland, according to the lawsuit.
Joseph Reese, an attorney for Noland Hospital Montgomery, said the care provided to Hopkins was “appropriate and consistent with the standard of care.”
He said two experienced wound care nurses testified at trial that the nursing care was “consistent with national standards.”
A physician expert for the hospital said at trial that Hopkins’ injuries were a result of her numerous underlying medical conditions, and were not in any way caused by the care she received at Noland Hospital.
“We retained Dr. Joyce Black, an international wound care expert, who explained to the jury that this could have easily been prevented by simply increasing Ms. Hopkins mobility and decreasing the pressure on her skin. The hospital staff simply chose to leave her flat of her back and in the bed.” – J.P. Sawyer
Dr. Joyce Black, who testified the elderly woman’s bedsores could have easily been prevented by simply increasing her mobility and decreasing the pressure on her skin.