Jim Boyle May 8, 2014, 3:24pm


A Philadelphia woman has filed a personal injury lawsuit against a local retirement home,

saying the employees neglected to properly care for bed sores that developed on her back while she was a patient.

Lois Johnson-Hamerman and her husband, Conrad, claim that the Philadelphia-based Watermark at Logan Square retirement community and its parent company The Freshwater Group, headquartered in Arizona, failed to employ and train employees that could effectively monitor and treat her injuries, which worsened over the two months she was their patient.

Johnson-Hamerman was admitted to the Watermark from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania on Nov. 13, 2012, for wound care and rehabilitation from cellulitis on her right foot. According to the claim, throughout her residency the staff at the Watermark failed to complete regular assessments to ensure continuity of care.

According to a timeline provided by the plaintiff's attorneys, a wound began to form on her back two days after her admittance. Over the course of the next few weeks, the wound worsened and became foul-smelling. The timeline notes that doctors ordered pain medication for Johnson-Hamerman and directed staff to turn and reposition her every two hours, but the latter order was never carried out, the lawsuit alleges.

Finally, on Dec. 18, 2012, Johnson-Hamerman was transferred to Pennsylvania Hospital at the request of her family, where she remained until Jan. 13, 2013 for treatment of a stage IV ulcer, according to the complaint.

The plaintiffs accuse Watermark and its parent company of promoting itself as a facility offering skilled nursing and total health care akin to a hospital and failing to provide those services. The claim says that the companies knowingly understaffed the nursing home in order to maximize profits, endangering the patients residing there.

The companies are also accused of intentionally increasing the number of sick, elderly and frail patients with greater health problems in order to increase their reimbursements.

The claim has been filed in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, but defense attorneys have petitioned to move the case to the federal level at the U.S. District Court of Eastern Pennsylvania.

The plaintiffs are represented by Daniel Weinstock, G. Scott Vezina and Carolyn Chopko of Feldman Shepherd in Philadelphia.

The federal case ID number is 2:14-cv-02607-ER.

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