Bedsore Grew to 'Horrific' Size, Family Says
3-20-2013 19:04:00

SAN JOSE, Calif. (CN) - An 80-year-old woman developed a bedsore that grew to more than three times its original size, while she also developed sepsis and pneumonia, her daughter claims in a complaint filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court.

The elder abuse lawsuit against Kaiser Permanente and Valley House Rehabilitation Center claims Willie Mae Pennington was admitted to Kaiser’s Santa Clara facility in April of 2012. She had diabetes and gangrene to her left foot and right big toe and had recently had a stroke which caused the right side of her face to droop, according to the complaint. “Additionally, on April 18 2012, Ms. Pennington became non-verbal and was unable to make her needs and thoughts known. All of the above conditions rendered her totally dependent on staff employees from Kaiser for all activities of daily living, including bathing, grooming, hygiene, turning and repositioning, pressure relief, nutrition, hydration, care planning and wound care,” the complaint states.

Although Kaiser did not note it on her April 21 discharge papers, “Ms. Pennington developed a stage II sacral decubitis ulcer (bedsore) measuring 2.8 x 2.0 centimeters during her short 11-day admission to Kaiser. Decubitis ulcers are wholly avoidable and develop as a result of the patient being subjected to unrelieved pressure for prolonged periods of time,” according to the complaint.[parenthetical added]

After her stay at Kaiser, Ms. Pennington was admitted to Valley House Rehabilitation Center, where staff documented the bedsore. However, during her 16-day stay, the bedsore grew from 2.8 x 2.0 centimeters to 4.2 x 4.0 centimeters on April 30, and finally to “a horrific 9.0 x 10.0” on May 7, according to the complaint. “Ms. Pennington’s sacral ulcer became necrotic, deteriorated in stage and more than trebled in size and her right toe developed necrotic tissue and she had to undergo painful surgical debridement of her sacral decubitis when she was readmitted to Kaiser on May 7," the complaint states. In addition, she became malnourished and dehydrated, developed sepsis, and contracted pneumonia while in Valley House’s care, according to the complaint.

Plaintiff and her daughter, guardian ad litem Teresa Pennington, are represented by Peter McNulty and Sarvnaz Mackin of Bel Air. 1-13-CV-241604