Woman says she was badly burned after treatment at a nursing home - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Posted by: George Metaxas, 6/8/04, 6:08 p.m.

Woman says she was badly burned after treatment at a nursing home

A Target 5 investigation uncovered a case of questionable care at one Memphis nursing home, despite new ownership. A Target 5 investigation last November found, under a previous owner, Quince Nursing and Rehabilitation Center had a long history of lawsuits and lousy state inspections. The new owner seemed to have cleaned it up, no new lawsuits and a good inspection earlier this year.

Peeling back the bandages on Bonnie Wallace's shoulder reveals a wound the size of a baseball. But more disturbing to Wallace and her family is how she says she got it. Wallace is a patient at the Quince Nursing and Rehabilitation center in East Memphis. We went undercover, inside Quince to talk to Wallace. She told us she was burned by a heating pad her physical therapist used to soothe her sore shoulder. Wallace said, "It had to be extra hot, but I couldn't feel it. I couldn't tell." She couldn't tell because Wallace has Multiple Sclerosis, which can cause numbness. She says a nursing assistant found the wound the following afternoon. "She pulled my gown back an she saw this huge thing on my arm, a huge blister, and she said, 'Mrs. Wallace, what is this?' and I said, "what?' and I looked around and I saw I said, 'Ooh!' It scared me. She said, 'Don't panic. Don't panic!'" Wallace says another nurse eventually treated and dressed the wound. Adding to the family's frustration, they say is that no one from the nursing home told them about the burn until days after it happened and they say it took even longer before Mrs. Wallace was able to see a doctor. Her son says that took more than a week. Tommy Wallace is the son. "At times I'm angry, at times I'm sad, at times I feel guilty, I feel that I could have done something."

We tried, but no one with the nursing home would talk to us about Mrs. Wallace's case, but in a written statement the home's attorney said, "The nursing home has met with the family of Mrs. Wallace and is responding to its concerns through a complete investigation. Delivering quality care and ensuring the safety and well-being of Mrs. Wallace and all residents are the missions of the care givers. Due to confidentiality laws protecting the privacy of Mrs. Wallace, we can offer no further comments." But we spoke to other physicians, not associated with the nursing home. They told us any time you have an open wound like Mrs. Wallace's it has to be monitored and cared for appropriately to reduce the possibility of infection.

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