Some States Permit Criminal Penalties Against Nursing Home Employees For Pressure Sores

In some states, development of pressure sores (pressure ulcer, bed sore, decubitus ulcer) in a nursing home resident can be so grieviously negligent that those responsible are criminally liable for the injuries, according to an article in the American Journal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology. The article is titled Homicide by Decubitus Ulcers and was published in March 2002 by a doctor and nurse.

In the article, they note that traditional penalties for poor treatment of nursing home patients have been civil lawsuits against the homes and their employees by the families, or fines and license suspension by government organizations. The authors further found that government agencies have become much more aggressive in citing homes for the development of pressure sores (pressure ulcer, bed sore, decubitus ulcer) in their patients. A few states have concluded that in some cases, the development of ulcers with resultant death is so grievous that there should be criminal prosecution for homicide. Hawaii is held up in the article as a "leader" in this concept after conviction of an individual for manslaughter in the death of a resident and permitting the progression of decubitus ulcers without seeking medical help and for not bringing the patient back to a physician for treatment of the ulcers. To read more, see the article.


Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia 


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