William S. Mays was admitted to the hospital on December 26, 2013, suffering from a swollen tongue that was causing him to have difficulty breathing. According to the statement of claim, Mr. Mays had no bedsores when he entered the hospital.
His widow, Olive Mays, is represented by Jonathan Johnson, from the firm of Jonathan W. Johnson. The law firm has expertise in the area of medical malpractice.
“Mr. Mays was supposed to go home after about three weeks,” says Johnson. “He had to be intubated in the ICU and then when they were getting ready to discharge him they found the bedsores."
Bedsores are also known as pressure ulcers. According to the Mayo Clinic they are caused by “pressure against the skin that limits blood flow to the skin. Other factors related to limited mobility can make the skin vulnerable to damage and contribute to the development of pressure sores”. The issue ulcerates and requires constant cleaning and treatment to prevent further infection.
According to the statement of claim, “Wellstar Douglasville medical records make no remarkable mention of pressure ulcers, skin breakdowns or wounds until January 8 when nursing notes refer to a mepilex on sacrum and right foot scab that is red and wound care treatment guide is utilized.”
“The key is you have to keep the patient clean and keep the patient rotated and if you don’t keep them clean enough and rotate them enough they get these high-level bedsores. So that’s what happened to Mr. Mays,” says Johnson.
According to the statement of claim Mr. May’s pressure sores progressed to stage four bedsores where the tissue is so ulcerated that bone is exposed.
“Stage four is the highest event in pressure sores. This is a never event,” says Johnson. “It is the kind of thing that should never happen but it is a red flag that something has gone wrong.
“Mrs. Mays made requests for help,” says Johnson. “One of the family members was a nurse and she called the hospital. The hospital then gave him one of those inflatable beds that used for bedsore patients. They were asking for help, and they documented their requests and the wife kept a diary.”
By the time of his discharge three months later the wound at the base of Mr. May’s spine was improving but still dangerously large and oozing.
“The sore had stopped progressing when he was discharged and he went home from the hospital but they had to clean the bedsore every day and turn him every two hours. Olive Mays did it herself. She had medical training and she decided she could do a better job caring for him herself at home,” says Johnson.
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The lawsuit alleges Mr. Mays experienced unnecessary pain and suffering and that the bedsore condition contributed to his death.
The defendants in the lawsuit are Wellstar Douglasville, Kennestone Hospital, Wellstar Windy Hill and Wellstar Health.
The causes of action include professional negligence, general negligence, wrongful death and loss of consortium.
The lawsuit claims that Mrs. Mays is entitled to an award for special damages consisting of medical expenses, funeral expenses and pain and suffering in the amount of at least $483,904.38.
Kennestone Hospital did not respond to an LAS request for comment.