11Alive reported on a jury verdict to compensate Lucille Debose for her neglect and wrongful death. Debose prematurely died from complications of an untreated pressure wound after Life Care Center of Lawrenceville accepted her as a resident. The lawsuit claimed the nursing home allowed or caused a hole the size of a hand to develop on her lower back going down to her bone.
The Atlanta jury awarded $6 million but the nursing home is appealing their decision.
Michelle McKinney is Dubose’s daughter. She said:
“She was hurt for 10 days, and no one did anything.”
Pressure injuries are wounds to the skin and underlying tissue after prolonged and unrelieved pressure. Caregivers can easily prevent pressure injuries by regularly moving patients or reliving the pressure on the skin. This is impossible if the nursing home is short-staffed. The 11Alive investigation uncovered that staffing shortages at the facility contributed to Debose’s death.
Former employees admitted unsafe staffing led to neglect and abuse. The long-time CNAs also said staff often did not have enough time to give residents showers. They would falsify records to conceal it.
“Unfortunately, the staffing issue was an issue,” Tabitha Freeman, a former Life Care nurse who also treated Dubose. “If you don’t have the staffing to provide the care, then the patient loses out.”
“They were understaffed,” Nikki Smith, another former Life Care nurse who worked at the Lawrenceville facility during the time, said.