DISCLAIMER: Please note that every case is different and these verdicts and settlements, while accurate, do not represent what we may obtain for you in your case.
We represented a nursing home resident whose leg was amputated after the nursing home staff failed to recognize the symptoms of a blood clot and failed to notify the resident’s physician of the changes in her condition.
The resident fell in her room. After the fall, the resident was supposed to be on a 72-hour fall follow-up which required the nurse on each shift to do a head-to-toe assessment of the resident. The day after the fall, the nurses began to noted first that the tip of her big toe had turned blue. The next shift, the nurse saw that tip and side of the toe were blue; the shift after that, the entire big toe was blue. When the next nurse assessed her condition after that, the resident’s leg was blue up to mid calf.
That nurse called the resident’s doctor to advise her of the patient’s condition, at which time, the doctor ordered the resident transferred to the emergency room where the staff determined that the tissue below the level of the clot had been deprived of oxygen too long and that it could not be saved, so amputation was necessary.
The theory of negligence against the nursing home was that the staff failed to recognize the symptoms of ischemia (tissue death due to lack of oxygen), including checking the discolored leg for loss of warmth and failed to notify the doctor of the changes in order to effectuate the transfer of the resident to the hospital.
The defense claimed that the nurses in fact checked the leg for warmth and it was normal and that they believed that the discoloration was actually a bruise coming from the fall. Further, detecting a change in warmth in the leg would have been difficult due to the resident’s poor circulation to the leg from her diabetes. Complicating the chances of success was testimony from the patient’s doctor that she would not have transferred the resident to the hospital any earlier had she been notified of the information in the resident’s chart and state investigative file.
We reached a very favorable settlement for the resident who now resides in a different nursing home.