Attorney David W. Terry of the Terry Law Firm recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Parkwood Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and related entities in the Circuit Court of St. Louis County, Missouri on behalf of Angela Thompson, the granddaughter of Nellie Wilks. Ms. Wilks died after developing two severe pressure sores on her sacrum. Those wounds were so deep that she also developed osteomylitis, which is an infection in the bone.

Parkwood Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center was cited in 2008 by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services for failing to make sure that each resident’s nutritional needs were met, failing to make sure that residents with reduced range of motion get proper treatment and services to increase range of motion, failing to ensure that residents to cannot care for themselves receive help with eating/drinking, grooming, and hygiene, failing to give residents proper treatment to prevent new bed (pressure) sores or heal existing bed sores, and failing to provide professional services that meet a professional standard of quality.

Ms. Wilks was admitted to Parkwood Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in July 2008. Upon admission, she had no pressure sores or open areas on her skin and was able to feel pain. Ms. Wilks was admitted with a gastric tube in place to help provide her with sufficient nourishment. It was also noted that Ms. Wilks could benefit from restorative care and a repositioning program, although facility staff failed to complete these processes in a timely and meaningful way.

Nine days after her admission, facility staff completed a dietary evaluation that found that Ms. Wilks’ current nutrition intake was insufficient to meet her daily caloric and nutritional needs. Despite this determination, no changes were made to Ms. Wilks’ diet. Sadly, no follow-up dietary assessment for Ms. Wilks’ was performed until 35 days later, well after facility staff determined that Ms. Wilks’ daily nutritional needs were not being met. During these 35 days, records reflected that Ms. Wilks lost 24 pounds and developed a severe sacral pressure ulcer. Ms. Wilks’ family physician and family members were not notified that she was not receiving proper nutrition or of her significant weight loss.

Thirteen days after her admission, a Care Plan was developed that identified that Ms. Wilks was at risk for developing pressure sores due to decreased mobility and incontinence of bowel and bladder. Unfortunately, facility staff failed to complete the necessary steps to ensure Ms. Wilks’ remained well-nourished and free of pressure sores. Sadly, Nellie Wilks died on October 26, 2008, leaving behind her closest relative, granddaughter Angela Thompson.

The lawsuit also names the owners of Parkwood Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitiation Center as well as several related companies. The allegations contained in the 29 page Petition are that the owners set up multiple companies to engage in business dealings with the Parkwood facility for the financial benefit of the owners. Owner Charles J. Riley is alleged to have “negotiated with himself” by signing a Management Agreement on behalf of both parties to the agreement that purportedly provided consulting to the Parkwood facility.

“Many facility owners see this as a way of pulling more money from the facility and into their own pockets,” said attorney David Terry. “When an owner signs a Management Agreement on behalf of two different companies, he is essentially making an agreement with himself to give himself management advice. And that advice isn’t free. The nursing home is required to pay for that advice, which means more money for the owner and less money for the nursing home residents.”

The Terry Law Firm, L.L.C. concentrates its energy on prosecuting personal injury and wrongful death cases. If you have questions about a p