Gunshot wound victim who developed pressure sores sues Phila. hospital

By Jon Campisi | May 4, 2012

A Delaware County man who claims he developed a pressure sore after spending time at a Philadelphia hospital for treatment of a gunshot wound has filed a medical malpractice complaint against the city healthcare agency.

Newtown, Pa. attorneys Christopher J. Culleton and Bryan M. Ferris, of the Swartz Culleton law firm, filed the injury claim May 2 at Philadelphia’s Common Pleas Court on behalf of Chester, Pa. resident Rahiem Nowell.

The defendant named in the lawsuit is Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

According to the complaint, Nowell was admitted to the hospital on Feb. 6, 2011 for treatment of a traumatic spinal cord injury caused by a gunshot wound.

Nearly a month later, he was transferred to Magee Rehabilitation Center, at which time he was found to have an “unstagable” sacral pressure sore.

The bedsore, the lawsuit claims, was caused solely by the negligence of the defendant.

The complaint accuses the defendant of failing to adopt protocols for decubitus ulcer prevention; failing to assess risk of decubitus ulcer development and risk of skin breakdown; failing to rotate and reposition the plaintiff so as to cut down on his chances of developing a pressure sore; failing to monitor the plaintiff for ulcer formation; failing to provide proper nutrition and hygiene to the plaintiff; failing to diagnose the plaintiff’s ulcers in a prompt manner; failing to provide the plaintiff with appropriate wound care; failing to properly and timely treat the plaintiff’s ulcer; and failing to employ competent nursing staff or adequately train nursing staff members to evaluate residents regarding their physical condition and symptoms.

The lawsuit claims that Nowell has suffered severe physical and mental anguish, pain, suffering and inconvenience, as well as humiliation, embarrassment, emotional distress and loss of life’s pleasures, all to his great detriment and loss.

The suit also claims Nowell was compelled to spend large sums of money on medical treatment to cure him of his injury.

Nowell demands unspecified compensatory damages in addition to attorney’s fees, interest and litigation costs.

The plaintiff is demanding a jury trial.


The case ID number is 120403790. 

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