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How Nursing Homes Fight Bed Sore Cases – Kennedy Ulcers or Deep Tissue Bed Sores?

Posted by Jeffrey A. Childers | Mar 18, 2016 | 0 Comments

Of all the liabilities that nursing homes face, few compare to the magnitude of Bed Sore or Decubitus Ulcer liability.  Bed Sores are a symptom of a systematic failure in many nursing homes . . . poor care.  Nearly all nursing home abuse or negligence cases involve some form of bed sore or pressure sore development.

Consequently, it should be of no surprise that the legal Defense industry (i.e., attorneys that represent nursing homes) have funded numerous studies to come up with an argument to

counter bed sore liability. So what did they come up with?  The Kennedy Ulcer.  In fact, they have expanded the term to call it the Kennedy Terminal Ulcer to protect themselves from wrongful death suits as well. A Kennedy Ulcer appears as a pear or butterfly shaped sore, forms quickly from a blister, forms in the area of the tailbone, and grows downward.  The theory suggests that a Kennedy Ulcer is a symptom of death, not a cause.  If it is not a cause, then death isn't caused by negligence, it is caused by age. Regardless of what literature you read, at best, no one knows what causes a “Kennedy Ulcer.”   So a Kennedy Ulcer is just a theory, not a fact.  It is designed to muddy the waters and provide nursing homes with an excuse.

So how did this “excuse” come about?  Hospitals and Nursing Homes across the country are being sued for negligence from ulcers.  Lawsuits drive up medical malpractice and negligence insurance.  So, insurers, hospitals, and nursing homes are motivated to prevent these suits.  As you can imagine, considerable funds have been applied to come up with an explanation of how decubitus ulcers form?  Research that will suggest it is caused by anything other than negligence.

For example, many experts will say there is a medical consensus based on a Consensus Statement from an expert panel.  But, if we look harder into this consensus statement, you will find it was funded by Gaymar Industries, Inc.  Gaymar is a medical equipment manufacturer supplying hospitals and nursing homes.  Whose side is Gaymar on?  Well, if you look at the “experts”, you will notice the panel consisted of a “medical malpractice defense attorney” but not Plaintiff's attorneys for one.  This is a key indicator that the panel's outcome was predetermined. So how can this be countered to make sure we get the truth?  Unfortunately, attorneys for the injured are typically smaller sole proprietorships or small businesses.  Without a unified effort, very little money is available to counter research by the legal defense industry.  Certainly the government that pays for healthcare doesn't want these suits.  Consequently, “Kennedy Ulcer” research is one sided. This is an example of the phrase, “If you look hard enough, you will find anything.” And so, as it goes, the legal defense industry has found a theory.  Nothing more than a theory.  Yet, the science of the skin is nothing new.  We understand our skin.  We understand how it ages, how it loses it resiliency, how it droops, how it breaks down, and even how to prevent all but aging.  Yet, we just don't know how a “Kennedy Ulcer” forms.  Hogwash.  We know, but the insurance industry doesn't want us to believe it.  In this field, muddy water is better than no water. Okay, if not a “Kennedy Ulcer,” what is it.  The fact is that a “Kennedy Ulcer” is nothing more than a Deep Tissue Injury.  Deep Tissue Injuries are routinely mislabeled as Pressure Sores.  Deep Tissue Injuries frequently result in the amputation of legs, colostomies, etc. because by the time they are recognized, it is too late.  Sound familiar?  Doctors agree that Deep Tissue Injuries are associated with “pressure events,” just like bed sores. Furthermore, it should not surprise you that the most common place for a “Kennedy Ulcer” is around the tail bone or coccyx.  Anyone that has sat in the middle school bleachers watching a band concert long enough will recognize that this can cause pain in your tailbone.  This pain is caused by a pressure event; the weight of your body being applied through your tailbone to a hard surface.  It causes blood flow to slow around the coccyx affecting the tissue, muscle, and even bone.  If you sit there long enough, you too with get a “Kennedy Ulcer” –I mean a Deep Tissue Injury. Kennedy Ulcers are Deep Tissue Pressure Sores caused by negligence. If a member of your family has been in a nursing home and gotten bed sores or a “Kennedy Ulcer,” we would like to help.  We will provide you with a free consultation to explain your rights.  If we are able to represent you or your family member, we will stop at nothing to bring about justice.



About the Author

Jeffrey A. Childers

Partner- Complex Litigation. Jeff served over 20 years in United States Navy as a Nuclear Submariner (Officer and Enlisted). An Electrical Engineer, Jeff brings unique talents to the difficult work he does at Rumph Childers Law.


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