CHARLESTON – A Greenbrier County man claims his mother received poor care at nursing homes last year before her death.

Danny Hutchens says staff members at Charleston Area Medical Center's rehabilitation facility and Heartland of Beckley didn't properly care for Nellie Hutchens after she had heart surgery at CAMC on April 9, 2004.

In the suit filed Dec. 1 in Kanawha Circuit Court, Hutchens said his mother had complications of renal failure and mechanical ventilation after her surgery and that she was at high risk for skin breakdown.

A pressure wound was first noted on April 19, and it worsened on her sacrum and coccyx during her stay at CAMC. Because she couldn't return home after the surgery, Nellie Hutchens was admitted to CAMC's rehab facility on May 11, 2004.

The suit alleges CAMC rehab staff didn't properly care for her wounds, and their condition deteriorated. The suit says the staff didn't turn and reposition her and that they failed to report a large amount of foul-smelling draining to a doctor on May 15. Also, the suit says signs of infection should have been reported. The suit also alleges the staff failed to timely change wound dressings, noting one was left in place for six days until she was discharged May 21.

By then, the suit claims, the size and stage of the wound had increased.

Nellie Hutchens then was admitted to Heartland of Beckley. The suit claims the staff there didn't follow written care instructions on skin breakdown. It says there was no evidence of daily skin inspections, looking for signs of wound infection, turning or repositioning. The suit says wound care began June 2, but that it had significantly worsened by then.

The suit also claims Heartland staff didn't administer medicines and wound care as ordered by a doctor. It claims the staff withheld medicines, including antibiotics, Synthroid, Coumadin and Digoxin. And when she was given Coumadin, the suit alleges the staff didn't look for signs and symptoms of bleeding and didn't properly monitor her.

Also, the suit claims Nellie Hutchens fell at least twice during her stay at Heartland.

In the suit, filed by Erin L. Winter of Bell & Bands PLLC, Danny Hutchens alleges Heartland didn't keep his mother's family informed of her total health status. He also claims his mother was denied the right to be treated courteously, fairly and with the fullest measure of dignity.

He said the lack of proper staffing and treatment caused his mother to suffer falls, medication errors and pressure ulcers that resulted in physical injuries, mental anguish, physical pain, and suffering as well as incurred medical treatment and expenses for such treatment.

He seeks a jury trial to determine damages.

The case has been assigned to Judge Tod Kaufman.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 05-C-2654

More News