Mahoning Matters reported the sad and tragic death of Thomas Ward Sr. He was a resident of the Oasis Center for Rehabilitation and Healing nursing home for less than two months in 2018, but during that time developed an infestation of maggots between his nasal passages and throat, along with severe bed sores and other health complications that led to his death, according to a new lawsuit.

Ward was admitted to the facility to receive nursing care and rehabilitation following a stroke, according to the complaint. The neglect Ward suffered caused the development of an infected Stage 4 pressure injury.  Stage 4 is the most severe level indicating the wound is past muscle and exposing bone with visible signs of infection. Ward also suffered an infestation of maggots in his oral cavity and oropharynx, along with a urinary tract infection and “other health problems and infections that ultimately led to sepsis and septic shock.”

Ward was discharged the following October to two different hospitals before he began receiving palliative care from a hospice provider, according to the suit. He died about two weeks later, on Oct. 13, 2018.

Oasis, which currently has an overall “below average” rating of two stars on Medicare.gov, has been a candidate for the state’s Special Focus Facilities list for six months, according to the most recent list released last month by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The designation identifies nursing homes with the most health and safety citations, or which indicate a pattern of noncompliance with particular state standards.

According to the Medicare.gov Nursing Home Compare website, Oasis has been cited by state inspectors for 58 health and safety deficiencies since December 2016 and fined more than $114,000, the most of any nursing home in Mahoning and Trumbull counties during those three years.

 More than 60,000 people die each year due to pressure injuries or bed sores, according to a journal entry found in the U.S. National Library of Medicine, which was last updated in September.

Unfortunately, despite awareness of the problem, the rates of pressure wounds remain high in long-term care facilities and nursing homes, where a lack of staff and optimal care is not always possible,” the entry states.

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