Legal Issues

Heidi Cross's picture
End of life wounds

By Heidi Cross, MSN, RN, FNP-BC, CWON

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." – Charles Dicken

When Charles Dickens wrote this introduction to his Victorian-era novel, A Tale of Two Cities, his novel was aimed at the brewing French Revolution, but he could have been writing about the best and worst of modern American health care. His novels depicted how life could be pretty miserable during those times, with no social safety net and no real medical care. Fortunately, times have changed, and we have improved social supports as well as, some would argue, the best health care system in the world (although, sadly, not all people in the United States enjoy access to our great health care system, but I digress).

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Diane Krasner's picture
Wound Care Lawsuits

By Diane L. Krasner, PhD, RN, FAAN

Originally a poster first conceived in 2009, "Six Sticky Wickets That Commonly Occur in Wound Care Lawsuits" is as relevant today as it was a decade ago. In my review of wound care medical malpractice cases, I see these six difficult situations ("sticky wickets") occurring all too often. Strategies for avoiding the Six Sticky Wickets have been updated and are discussed here.

Heidi Cross's picture
End of Life Skin

By Heidi Cross, MSN, RN, FNP-BC, CWON

Ms. EB, a frail 82-year-old woman admitted to a long-term care facility, had a complex medical history that included diabetes, extensive heart disease, ischemic strokes with left-sided weakness and dysphagia, dementia, kidney disease, anemia, chronic Clostridium difficile infection, and obesity. Her condition was guarded at best on admission, and she had a feeding tube for nutrition secondary to dysphagia. Despite these challenges, she survived two years at the facility.

Heidi Cross's picture
Pain and Suffering Documentation

Heidi Cross, MSN, RN, FNP-BC, CWON

"Me and Jenny goes together like peas and carrots." – Forrest Gump

Just like Forrest's peas and carrots, a pressure ulcer lawsuit and a pain and suffering allegation inevitably "goes together." For good reason, because pain is an ever-present problem in patients with pressure ulcers, venous and arterial ulcers, and even diabetic ulcers, despite sensory issues. How do you, as a health care provider, best protect and defend yourself against a pain and suffering allegation?

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Heidi Cross's picture
Unavoidable Pressure Ulcers

By Heidi Cross, MSN, RN, FNP-BC, CWON

"At all times material hereto, defendant failed to develop an adequate care plan and properly monitor and supervise the care and treatment in order to prevent her from suffering the development and deterioration of bed sores."

Industry News's picture

By the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel

Washington, DC. – April 18, 2019 – On April 9, 2019, Dr. William Padula, NPUAP Treasurer, and Dr. Janet Luddigan, NPUAP President, provided written testimony to the House Committee on Appropriations; Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies to explore new payment models that could further increase innovation and incentivize the prevention or pressure injuries.

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Heidi Cross's picture
Risk Factors for Unavoidable Ulcers

by Heidi H. Cross, MSN, RN, FNP-BC, CWON

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, more than 17,000 lawsuits related to pressure ulcers (PUs) are filed annually in the United States, second only to wrongful death lawsuits. One of the greatest gifts to defense attorneys was when the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published F-Tag 314, finally acknowledging that some ulcers can occur despite best care. The facility essentially can maintain, “Hey, we did everything we were supposed to, and despite that, the patient developed that pressure ulcer”—that is, the ulcer was unavoidable. To prove unavoidability, proper documentation (proof) of best care needs to be in place, as well as documentation that all proper prevention and treatment measures were implemented.

Janet Wolfson's picture
The Lymphedema Treatment Act

by Janet Wolfson, PT, CLWT, CWS, CLT-LANA

As the 116th Congress ruffles its feathers and dusts out the corners, it's another chance for the Lymphedema Treatment Act (LTA) to become law. The Senate bill was given bill number S 518, whereas the House bill is pending. In the previous Congress, the bill had a super majority support in both Senate and House. One can only speculate what else might have consumed their time.

Heidi Cross's picture
Skin Changes at Life's End

by Heidi H. Cross, MSN, RN, FNP-BC, CWON

"If a patient is cold, if a patient is feverish, if a patient is faint, if he is sick after taking food, if he has a bed sore, it is generally the fault not of the disease, but of the nursing." —Florence Nightingale

Ouch! What an indictment of nursing and, by extension, the facility in which the nurse works. We have a lot to thank Florence Nightingale for—a brilliant woman considered to be the founder of nursing and nursing standards and the first to ever put statistics to health care, among other valuable contributions.

Heidi Cross's picture
Risk Assessment

by Heidi H. Cross, MSN, RN, FNP-BC, CWON

When looking at medical charts from a legal perspective, one of the areas closely scrutinized is the risk assessment for skin breakdown and pressure ulcer development. Completing a risk assessment is considered a standard of care. Was the patient adequately assessed, and was this done in a timely fashion? Was it repeated at regular intervals, with a change in condition, or on readmission? Do scores seem appropriate for the patient's condition? Is there consistency among health practitioners? Were the results used to institute evidence-based and appropriate prevention and treatment measures and care plans? Or do the results seem to simply languish in the chart? What are the standards of care related to this?