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Bedsores at Virginia Nursing Homes


Every year, thousands of older people become victims of elder abuse at nursing homes across the United States. Bedsores are one of the most serious symptoms of neglect by staff. If left untreated bed sores at Virginia nursing homes can be deadly.

Virginia has a worrying record of nursing home abuse.  Since 2014, inspectors in the Commonwealth have penalized one in four nursing homes for neglect and other violations of state and federal regulations. We are aware of how nursing home neglect in Virginia comes in many forms. Neglect ranges from physical abuse to failure to provide adequate medical attention and financial exploitation of elders.

If your elderly relative has been neglected or abused at a nursing home or residential care home in Hampton, Newport News, York County, or elsewhere in Virginia, please contact the Smith Law Center today for help.

How Serious Are Bed Sores at Virginia Nursing Homes?

Bedsores are painful, debilitating and potentially deadly. They point to high levels of neglect by nursing staff. They are also known as pressure ulcers and decubitus ulcers.

Bedsores are produced by prolonged pressure on the skin of a resident. They typically occur when older people have limited mobility.

The ulcers are tissue damage beneath the upper-epidermal layers of the patient’s skin. Bedsores are most likely to occur on the skin that covers the bony areas of the body. The heels, ankles, hips and tailbone or the backs of legs, and arms are more susceptible. Nursing home residents may develop them lying in bed or from sitting in chairs for long periods.

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, bedsores are more likely to occur when a bedridden or immobile person is not turned regularly, positioned correctly, and is deprived of nutrition and skin care. People with circulation problems, poor nutrition and diabetes are at the highest risk of developing bedsores.

Are Bedsores at Virginia Nursing Homes Linked to Neglect?

Bedsores at Virginia nursing homes are typically linked to neglect. Nurses and care workers at homes for older people are not always aware residents are developing bedsores. It can be challenging to care for an older resident. However, staff has a duty to turn over residents and move them around as well as to clean them regularly. Often nursing homes face challenges hiring staff and workers are under pressure. Some Virginia nursing home workers may be inexperienced and not notice the signs of bedsores. In other cases, nursing homes avoid contacting medical professionals for fear of lawsuits.

The Stages of Bedsores

There are four stages in the development of bedsores. If your elderly resident is in a Virginia nursing home, you should look out for these signs, particularly if your family member is immobile. 

Stage 1. Part of the body becomes red, inflamed, and tender to touch. In people with darker skin, the area may gain a blue or purple hue. A sensation of pain, burning and itching can indicate the early stages of a bedsore.

Stage 2. The area around the ulcer becomes obviously damaged. An open sore, blister, or scrape may develop and the area around it often becomes discolored. By stage 2, bedsores can become very painful.

Stage 3. By the third phase of development, bedsores become very obvious. Johns Hopkins states the sores have a “crater-like appearance due to damage below the skin’s surface.”

Stage 4. By the fourth stage, bedsores can become life-threatening. The area around the sores sustains severe damage and large, gaping wounds are present. In some cases, bones, tendons and joints are visible. There is a serious risk of life-threatening infections in advanced stage bedsores.

How Can Bedsores be Prevented?

Managers of efficient nursing homes are well aware of the dangers of bedsores and have strict routines to prevent them from occurring. However, residents face an elevated risk in badly run homes.

Staff should routinely inspect the skin of patients for signs of redness. They should pay particular attention to the bony areas of immobile residents. It’s important to diagnose and treat bedsores during the earliest phase.  Nursing home staff should also:

  • Turn and reposition immobile residents every two hours
  • Provide good skin care by washing residents and keeping them clean
  • Make sure residents have dry skin
  • Ensure wheelchair-bound residents sit up straight and are repositioned every 15 minutes
  • Add soft padding to beds and wheelchairs to safeguard against the development of bedsores

 

Good nutrition is essential to help prevent the development of bedsores. Patients must receive adequate vitamins, calories, fluids and protein. Healing is difficult without these basics.

Contact an Experienced Injury Lawyer over Bedsores at Virginia Nursing Homes

Few situations are more upsetting than knowing a nursing home or a residential home is mistreating your elderly family member. On occasions, family members are wary about challenging nursing home management until it is too late. Sadly, we read all the time about veterans and others who have proudly served their countries only to be neglected and abused in nursing homes. At the Smith Law Center, we are dedicated to fighting for the rights of the injured. Please contact us today for a consultation.

 

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If you or a relative had a severe reaction to military housing mold, it might be time to talk with a toxic mold lawyer. Mold is everywhere, and can be dangerous. Researchers have linked mold to serious respiratory illnesses in some individuals.

Smith Law Center may be able to help if a property owner failed to keep you safe from mold in your military housing. We are one of Virginia’s oldest and most successful firms. We know how to hold negligent property owners responsible, especially when the military is involved.

Call us at (757) 244-700 or contact us online to set up a free consultation. There’s no fee for learning more about Virginia mold laws, your rights, and your legal options.

Mold in Military Housing

Black mold in military housing became widely known when Reuters published an investigation in 2018. Since then, the Department of Defense and the housing providers were supposed to take steps to improve the situation.

Unfortunately, a 2020 audit by the DoD Office of Inspector General found many issues, including the need for mold remediation, still persist.

Monetary Awards in Military Housing Toxic Mold Cases

If the property owner lets toxic mold run wild and continue to cause you harm, talk with our toxic mold attorneys about filing a lawsuit.

You may receive financial compensation for:

Service members and their families do not receive different types of damages than civilians. These are civil lawsuits in traditional courts of law.

Military Housing Mold Toxicity Symptoms

The Institute of Medicine discovered there was evidence connecting exposure to indoor mold with:

  • Upper respiratory tract symptoms;
  • Coughing;
  • Wheezing;
  • Asthma symptoms in individuals with asthma; and
  • Hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals with weak immune systems.

There is also limited evidence that mold causes respiratory illnesses in healthy children or causes people to develop asthma.

Understanding Exposure to Toxic Mold in Military Housing

The topic of toxic mold is complicated. This Is in part because the term “toxic mold” isn’t accurate. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains mold isn’t toxic or poisonous. However, some molds are toxigenic, which means they produce toxins called mycotoxins.

Mold is common in military housing because it’ll grow anywhere there’s moisture. That includes on and inside walls, carpet, upholstery, wallpaper, and heating and air conditioning systems. This is especially pronounced in humid conditions such as those present in Virginia.

Some people have no difficulties around mold, even large infestations in their homes. Other individuals are sensitive to molds, including those that produce mycotoxins. Someone can have a severe reaction when exposed to a large amount of mold indoors.

People may be more likely to experience mold toxicity symptoms if they have:

  • Allergies,
  • An underlying lung disease,
  • Immune suppression,
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder,
  • Asthma, or
  • Another chronic respiratory disease.

Common Types of Military Housing Mold

When you’re trying to learn more from the CDC and other resources, you’ll see the word “fungus” a lot. Mold is a type of fungus, which is something that exists all around us. Fungi are living organisms different from animals, plants, and bacteria. There are over 200,000 types of fungi and over 100,000 types of molds.

If you discovered mold in your military housing, it could be Cladosporium, Penicillium, Stachybotrys chartarum, Aspergillus, or many other types. Stachybotrys is what everyone knows as black mold. Aspergillus is a common indoor fungus, which releases mycotoxins and can cause illness. Your symptoms may resemble common allergy or asthma symptoms.

Who is Liable for Military Housing Mold?

Since 1996, most military housing has come under the management of private companies:

  • Belfour Beatty Communities: Fort Eustis and Fort Story/li>
  • Lincoln Military Housing: Dahlgren, Little Creek, Naval Station Norfolk, Northwest Annex, Oceana, Portsmouth, Quantico, and Yorktown/li>
  • Hunt Military Communities: Fort Lee and Langley AFB

Outside of Virginia, Lendlease and Corvias Military Living are two more housing providers. Together, these five companies formed the Military Housing Association.

Military families living in on-base housing must take their complaints to their private management company — not the military. The company is responsible for providing habitable conditions and making repairs, including mold remediation.

If you’re unsure about your rights, review your state law and local ordinances about mold. In general, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to provide a habitable unit, which means it has to be safe to live in. A unit isn’t safe if it’s causing a tenant health issues due to mold.

The Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act requires landlords to disclose if there’s mold in the written report of the move-in inspection. If a tenant discovers visible mold in the unit, then the Act requires the landlord to remove the mold and relocate the tenant until it’s gone at no additional cost to the tenant.

Unfortunately, many families find their housing providers aren’t receptive to complaints. Attorney Stephen M. Smith has handled many mold lawsuits against military housing providers who fail to abide by their lease terms and the law when it comes to mold remediation and other hazards.

Other Hazards in Military Housing

Many service members and their families deal with uncomfortable, if not hazardous, conditions in privatized military housing, including:

Lead Paint: Lead-based paint can cause headaches, nausea, fatigue, irritability, behavioral problems, learning disabilities, seizures, organ damage, and in extreme cases, death.

Asbestos: Exposure to asbestos harms a person’s lungs, and can lead to lung fibrosis (scarring), lung cancer, and mesothelioma.

Radon: Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. It naturally forms underground, however cracks and gaps in buildings lead to over-exposure indoors.

Poor Water Quality: Dozens of military sites have water with detectable levels of harmful chemicals.

Other issues involve rodent or insect infestations, pesticides, and faulty electrical wiring.

What Happens When a Lot of People Get Sick?

Sometimes mold exposure impacts a single individual or family. However, when the mold spreads throughout military housing, it can impact hundreds or thousands of people.

Occasionally, a large enough group of people are injured to allow for a class action or mass tort lawsuit. A class action lawsuit is one where a class representative acts as the plaintiff on behalf of the group of hurt individuals. Not every victim participates in the lawsuit. There are rules about when a group is big and similar enough to create a class action.

Mass tort lawsuits are different. When there are fewer plaintiffs who have their own set of circumstances, each person files a lawsuit. For efficiency’s sake, one or a couple of law firms may represent most plaintiffs, and the lawsuits are consolidated in a federal court.

Call the Military Housing Mold Lawyers at Smith Law Center for Help Right Away

Mold cases come about in a few ways. You or a loved one may start getting sick, and after weeks or months of struggling to find answers, you finally realize your military housing has a mold infestation. In other cases, you struggle with visible mold and then become ill.

Once you connect the illness with the mold, it’s time to talk with a toxic mold lawyer. Reaching out to an attorney early helps you build a strong compensation claim. We know how to collect evidence, identify who is liable, and craft a successful argument for a settlement or court award.

Attorney Stephen M. Smith has decades of experience handling injury claims and has been internationally recognized for his work. He has litigated cases involving catastrophic injuries and complex legal and scientific issues. In 2019, he was inducted into the Virginia Lawyers Hall of Fame.

You’re in good hands when you come to Smith Law Center for help. Reach out online or call (757) 244-7000 to schedule your 100% free consultation.

Military Housing Mold Lawsuits: FAQs

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Use the simple form below to send a message directly to our lawyers. We will respond within 1 hour or less during business hours.
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