Maggots in bedsore lead to nursing home lawsuits

vhoneycutt@herald-leader.comMarch 14, 2009 

A lawsuit has been filed against the Winchester Centre for Health and Rehabilitation, alleging that doctors found maggots crawling in a 95-year-old patient's bedsore.

The facility where the woman was a patient for three months last summer has faced numerous state and federal sanctions in the past two years and was threatened with the loss of Medicare and Medicaid funding before the state found it in compliance last month.

In the lawsuit filed this week in Clark Circuit Court, Vernon Johnson alleges that his mother, Lucy Hale, suffered poor hygiene, bedsores with maggot infestation, malnutrition, weight loss and dehydration at the Winchester facility.

"With basic care and monitoring, there is no excuse for any nursing home resident to have maggots in a wound," said Rick Circeo, the Lexington attorney representing Johnson.

Hale had the sore when she was admitted to the Winchester facility, but it festered there despite a doctor's orders for daily treatment, the lawsuit says.

In a separate action filed in Fayette Circuit Court, Johnson is suing the facilities where Hale was treated before she was transferred to the Winchester nursing home.

That suit names Saint Joseph Health System Inc., Catholic Health Initiatives, Kenton Healthcare LLC and Kenton Healthcare/Lexington Ltd.

Officials with Winchester Centre for Health and Rehabilitation, Saint Joseph, and Kenton Healthcare all said Friday that they had not been served with the lawsuit.

"We are surprised to be included because the alleged incident happened four months after her discharge from Saint Joseph," said Jeff Murphy, a spokesman for Saint Joseph.

Officials for the two other facilities declined to comment.

Reach Valarie Honeycutt Spears at (859) 231-3409 or 1-8--950-6397.

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