A Cleveland, Tenn., nursing home company has settled a lawsuit that accused it of neglecting its patients and allowing an elderly woman to lie in her own feces for hours at a time after back surgery.
The woman, Betty Mae Hanzel of Hastings, developed an infection in her wound during her stay at the Life Care Center of Elkhorn that required surgery to reopen her incision and drain the infection and fecal matter in the wound, according to the lawsuit. According to the lawsuit, the nursing home staff allowed Hanzel to lie in her own feces and urine for extended periods and, on at least one occasion, told Hanzel to get her own water even though she could not get out of bed. Near the end of her stay at the home, Hanzel discovered a discharge from her surgical incision, but staff did not tell her doctor about the condition for several days, according to the lawsuit. Later, she developed blood clots in the artery leading to her lungs and a “super-infection of the bowel,” which led to surgery to remove most of her colon, according to the lawsuit.