The family of a 93-year-old Georgia nursing home resident alleges in their nursing home neglect lawsuit that the resident was “eaten alive” by scabies over the course of months or years, causing her gruesome and painful death in 2015. The resident had moved into the Georgia nursing home in 2010 at which time she was suffering from dementia.
The family’s Georgia nursing home claim lawyer reportedly stated that the nursing home’s staff was warned to be careful about touching the resident’s hand because it might fall off her body.
The autopsy report reportedly stated that the resident died from “septicemia due to crusted scabies.”
What Is Scabies?
According to the CDC, scabies is an infestation of the skin by the human itch mite (Sarcoptes scabiei var. hominis). The microscopic scabies mite burrows into the upper layer of the skin where it lives and lays its eggs. The most common symptoms of scabies are intense itching and a pimple-like skin rash. The scabies mite usually is spread by direct, prolonged, skin-to-skin contact with a person who has scabies.
Crusted scabies is a severe form of scabies that can occur in some persons who are immunocompromised (have a weak immune system), elderly, disabled, or debilitated. It is also called Norwegian scabies. Persons with crusted scabies have thick crusts of skin that contain large numbers of scabies mites and eggs. Persons with crusted scabies are very contagious to other persons and can spread the infestation easily both by direct skin-to-skin contact and by contamination of items such as their clothing, bedding, and furniture. Persons with crusted scabies may not show the usual signs and symptoms of scabies such as the characteristic rash or itching (pruritus). Persons with crusted scabies should receive quick and aggressive medical treatment for their infestation to prevent outbreaks of scabies.
A forensic pathologist consulted by a Georgia news organization regarding the resident’s death stated, “This is one of the most horrendous things I’ve ever seen in my career as a forensic pathologist.” The pathologist had personally conducted more than 6,000 autopsies and supervised in excess of 80,000 autopsies.
The forensic pathologist estimated that hundreds of millions of mites were living within the body of the resident when she died, which he described as a painful death, adding, “I would seriously consider calling this a homicide by neglect.”
According to news reporting, the Georgia Department of Public Health was notified about a scabies outbreak at the defendant nursing home in 2013 and then again eleven days before the resident’s death in 2015. The 2015 scabies outbreak reportedly involved 35 nursing home residents and staff being exposed to scabies. The Georgia Department of Public Health reportedly failed to inspect the nursing home in 2015 as a result but instead emailed a manual to the Georgia nursing home that described how to treat scabies.
The family’s Georgia nursing home claim lawyer stated, “I don’t understand how you can allow a human being to suffer needlessly.”
If you or a loved one suffered injuries (or worse) while a resident of a nursing home in Georgia or in another U.S. state due to nursing home neglect, nursing home negligence, nursing home abuse, or nursing home under-staffing, you should promptly find a nursing home claim attorney in Georgia or in your state who may investigate your nursing home claim for you and file a nursing home claim on your behalf or behalf of your loved one, if appropriate.
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