The DiMartini Case
In this case, which was filed in the State of Ohio, the plaintiff, a then aged 69 year old man, was admitted to a hospital with an admittance diagnosis of digoxin toxicity, dehydration, renal insufficiency and a right heel ulcer. During this admission, the plaintiff was weak and primarily bedridden so he had to use a bedpan for toileting. As a result of a physician’s and a nurse’s negligence, the plaintiff was left on the bed pan for an extended period of time and developed a ring of large blisters on both buttocks in the shape of the bed pan.
Once the blisters were recognized, the physician and nurse were also negligent in failing to administer proper wound care to the pressure ulcer. Thus, the wound developed into large, elliptical-shaped, infected, and fluid-filled blisters on his sacral and buttocks area. Over the course of several weeks, these blisters progressed into a stage IV necrotic decubitus ulcer on the buttocks extending into the bone. Stage IV wounds are the most severe of pressure ulcers.
The plaintiff underwent painful debridment of the necrotic wound, sepsis, dehydration and had medical and incidental expenses. Further, the subsequent wound sepsis required that that the plaintiff indefinitely postpone open heart surgery for his severe coronary artery disease.
Suit was filed in Jefferson County, Ohio against the physician and hospital seeking damages for the plaintiff’s pain and extensive hospitalization for wound care. Further, the plaintiff brought a corporate negligence claim against the hospital for: failing to have adequate policies and procedures in place regarding prevention of pressure ulcers and the management thereof; failing to ensure that the nurses were adequately trained and/or knowledgeable on bedpan usage; and for failing to ensure that the nurses and other care providers were adequately trained to administer nursing care and proper wound care to patients with extensive pressure wounds.
This case resulted in a considerable settlement for the plaintiff and his wife.