The family of an elderly nursing home patient has sued a nursing home after they found over 50 maggots in the woman’s ear. While the woman has Alzheimer’s disease and is unable to speak on account of it, the family knew something was amiss when she started fidgeting with her ear frequently.
The family sued the facility for nursing home neglect and also seeks damages for emotional distress. While the family has paid the home over $270,000 for the woman’s care, the family only seeks $50,000 in compensation. While apparently the woman’s life is not threatened on account of this infection, she also developed the potent MRSA infection that required treatment. The patient is still fighting this infection.
In a statement, the family’s attorney suggests that the home failed to keep their facility sanitary and also failed to supervise their patient adequately.
While this incident happened in another state, New Jersey’s nursing homes also have a duty to keep their buildings reasonably clean so as to prevent the spread of infection (and, in this case, maggot infestation). Nursing home staff working in New Jersey facilities must also inspect their patients thoroughly. One could speculate that had staff monitored this woman more carefully and had kept her clean, she would not have had maggots in her ear.
Nursing homes that fall short of this reasonable standard of care may have to pay compensation to their patients for the damages should a patient suffer an injury or illness as a result of the home’s negligence. In some cases, this may include compensation for emotional distress.
Source: Huffington Post, “Catherine McCann maggot infestation in ear leads to MRSA infection- and lawsuit,” Dec. 13, 2012.