Gangrene in nursing homes is often a preventable and treatable condition. When you or your loved one have health complications or medical emergencies associated with gangrene, it may be time to hold the nursing home responsible for their negligence.

What is Gangrene in Nursing Home Patients?

Gangrene is a medical condition characterized by tissue decay that may lead to amputations due to lack of blood flow or to other surgeries. It can develop in nursing home patients when bedsores or other wounds are not treated properly. Bedsores and long-lasting open wounds in aging residents are often cause for concern, and nursing home staff who do not take these conditions seriously risk worsening symptoms and complications.

Symptoms of gangrene include

  • Skin changes: Skin may be dry, shriveled, and black or blue in color. Skin may also be red, swollen, and leaking odorous pus.
  • Numbness or pain: Depending on the extent of nerve damage, the affected area may be numb or painful.
  • Developing infection: When left untreated, gangrene can cause an infection with symptoms like decreased blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, fever, and confusion.

Gangrene is often seen in extremities and appendages, such as the fingers, toes, hands, and feet.

There are three types of gangrene that nursing homes should be monitoring residents for – dry, wet, and gas gangrene. Dry gangrene occurs when blood supply to an area stops, causing the tissue to darken, dry out, and shrink. Wet gangrene is a result of bacteria entering the dried-out region of tissue. At this point, there will often be swelling and a foul odor.

Gas gangrene is generally considered the most dangerous form and occurs when bacteria in the tissue create toxins and begin to release gas. It spreads quickly and is deadly within days if left untreated.

How Gangrene Develops in Nursing Homes

In nursing homes, gangrene can be a sign of neglect. Caregivers and staff in nursing homes should be providing regular assessments of patients to ensure there are no wounds or that existing wounds are healing properly. If gangrene is allowed to develop, it often indicates a lack of care provided by the nursing home.

Failing to recognize this infection and prevent it from worsening could lead to sepsis and other life-threatening complications, and delayed treatment is almost guaranteed to create lasting consequences. Severe gangrene may require amputation or other significant surgery, so any delay in addressing the necrosis can be devastating for nursing home residents.

The timeline for preventing serious complications varies depending on the patient’s medical history, overall health, and the type of gangrene. Nursing home staff should take each incident of gangrene seriously and act quickly to treat their patients.

Contact a Gangrene Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer

When nursing homes allow their patients to develop gangrene, their negligence can cause lasting damage to the vulnerable residents they are meant to care for. Contact the nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers at D’Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC. We have over 100 years of cumulative experience fighting for nursing home residents in Connecticut. Contact us to schedule a virtual or in-person consultation with one of our fiercely dedicated attorneys.