A bone infection, called osteomyelitis, is often result of poor wound care and demands the attention of a nursing home neglect lawyer. Osteomyelitis a serious complication that often requires extensive treatment. When this infection is caused by nursing home neglect or wound care mismanagement, contact a nursing home neglect lawyer for assistance.
What Causes Osteomyelitis?
Osteomyelitis occurs when bacteria from an open wound or infected tissue enter the blood stream, travel to the bone, and multiply. Bacteria from a staph infection, staphylococcus aureus, is a common cause of osteomyelitis. Elderly nursing home residents, especially those with bed sores, urinary tract infections, or other open wounds are particularly susceptible to infections such as osteomyelitis.
Nursing homes and assisted livings have a duty to provide a certain level of care for their residents. When the nursing home fails to provide that care, such proper wound care for a bedsore, an osteomyelitis infection can develop. A nursing home neglect lawyer can request and review your loved one’s medical records and determine if their infection may have been caused by neglect.
Symptoms of Osteomyelitis
Common symptoms of a bone infection can include:
- Fever, chills, and nausea
- Pain and swelling in the infected area
- Warmth, swelling, and redness in the surrounding tissues
- Difficulty moving joints near the affected area
How is Osteomyelitis Diagnosed?
A physician may use several tests to diagnose osteomyelitis. The physician may order blood tests to monitor white blood cell count that could indicate that the patient has an infection. Diagnostic imaging such as an X-ray, CT, or MRI may be ordered. Another diagnosis test for osteomyelitis is a bone biopsy. For this test, a doctor extracts a small piece of bone and tests it for bacteria. A bone biopsy is often considered the gold standard for osteomyelitis diagnosis.
Complications from Osteomyelitis
Osteomyelitis is a serious infection and can have far-reaching complications, including bone death, septic arthritis, and skin cancer. Osteomyelitis can hinder blood circulation within the bone causing bone death, called osteonecrosis. These areas of dead bone may require surgical removal. Septic arthritis occurs when a bone infection spreads to a nearby joint. Left untreated, septic arthritis can destroy joint cartilage and cause permanent damage to the joint. Finally, osteomyelitis can put the surrounding tissue at higher risk of developing squamous cell cancer. Patients who develop squamous cell cancer from chronic osteomyelitis may require amputation to effectively treat the condition.
Osteomyelitis can be difficult to treat and require hospitalization. A doctor may prescribe multiple weeks of IV or oral antibiotics to treat the infection. The physician will monitor the infection through ongoing imaging or blood tests. Pain management may be needed as well. In some cases, surgery is required to drain infected fluid or remove damaged tissue and bone.
National data shows that nearly 9% of patients hospitalized for foot osteomyelitis had a foot amputated, and almost 25% required a toe amputation. Over 1.5% of patients hospitalized for foot osteomyelitis died while in the hospital. If your loved one required amputation due to osteomyelitis, we encourage you to reach out to a nursing home neglect lawyer to see if you might have a claim.
When to Contact a Nursing Home Neglect Lawyer
Osteomyelitis is a serious infection, and too often this infection is the result of poor care. Pressure ulcers are often preventable and the result of improper care, such as turning and repositioning. Negligent care of pressure ulcers can increase the risk of an infection, such as osteomyelitis. An infection can occur bacteria from a pressure ulcer enters the blood stream and travels to the bone tissue, causing osteomyelitis. Pressure ulcers that are severe, such as Stage IV pressure ulcers, are the most likely to lead to osteomyelitis.
A nursing home neglect lawyer can help file a personal injury claim against the nursing home for negligence. Bed sores are often preventable, and so are the subsequent infections caused by poor care. A nursing home neglect lawyer can seek compensation for your loved one’s medical expenses, pain and suffering, and disability caused by their preventable osteomyelitis infection.
Call the Wieand Law Firm today at 215-666-7777 or send us a message to speak directly to an attorney.