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Nursing Home Patient Battles MRSA Infection After Maggot Infestation

After dozens of maggots were removed from the ear of an Arlington Heights nursing home resident, the elderly woman is back in the hospital battling infections, the family's attorney says.

Three months after 57 maggots were removed from the ear of an Arlington Heights nursing home resident, 90-year-old Catherine McCann is once again back in the hospital, battling infections caused by the infestation, the family’s attorney said.

“I hope she’s able to survive these infections,” attorney Henry Gruss said, “She’s a 90-year-old woman who suffers from dementia and now she has all these infections to overcome.”

Suffering from severe Alzheimer’s disease, McCann lived at Lutheran Home for the Aged, 800 W. Oakton Street in Arlington Heights, for two years before the alleged infestation.

Gruss, who filed the lawsuit against the Arlington Heights nursing home, said since the maggots were removed in mid-September, McCann has been in and out of the hospital for infections in her left ear.

Currently, Gruss said, the 90-year-old woman is in the hospital battling MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), a bacterium that causes infections in different parts of the body

. Gruss said that’s the amount the family is seeking in noneconomic damages, but the full amount has yet to be determined.

“She’s still incurring medical expenses,” Gruss said, “So the investigation continues as to her medical expenses will be.”

John McCann, Catherine's 88-year-old husband, spent $10,000 a month, roughly $270,000, for his wife’s care at the Lutheran Home for the Aged.

“They went to this place and paid top dollar, cash,” Gruss said, “He spent almost all of his life savings and it’s just unbelievable this could happen.”

After receiving treatment for wax build up, CBS Chicago reported, McCann was prescribed ear drops, which were to be administered by the nursing home staff four times daily, but the maggots went unnoticed

Gruss sent some of the maggots to an expert for analysis, who concluded the maggots had been the elderly woman’s ear for two-and-half to three days.

According to Gruss, the infestation was only discovered after McCann, who is unable to speak, began tugging on her ear in mid-September. That's when family members and nurses found maggots crawling out of the 90-year-old’s ear. Taken to Northwest Community Hospital, doctors removed dozens of maggots from her ear.

Gruss said if the doctors and nurses working at the home did not notice the maggots, they may not have been giving McCann the ear drops as prescribed. According to the Daily Herald, Lutheran Home officials have denied any wrongdoing.

McCann’s family had filed a complaint shortly before the infestation was discovered.

“They noticed a change in the cleanliness over the past few months and they complained about it,” Gruss said, “It just wasn’t up to their satisfaction and they did say something.”

A longtime friend of McCann’s eldest son, Gruss said, “They love their mother, they visited her in the nursing home all the time, they did everything they’re supposed to do and then this happens.” 

On behalf of the family, Gruss has filed a complaint against the Lutheran Home for the Aged but the nursing home has yet to file their answer.

At this point, Gruss said, a settlement does not seem likely. “I’m going to expedite a trial date because of her advanced age and expedite discovery to get a decision in this case,” Gruss said. 

A court date for the lawsuit has not been set at this time. 

Linda Herbst December 13, 2012 at 03:46 PM
I hope they win!!! My father was there and they kicked him out because they just don't know how to handle dementia/alzheimers patience. After my father was thrown to the curb by this facility we found out about 4 other people with dementia were also treated badly and thrown out!! The home is for those who have their faculties not for dementia patience they don't know how to handle them. Very Sad!!
La Vonne Porter December 13, 2012 at 04:47 PM
Worse yet, they medicate the patients and then when they don't respond, like my husband, because they are drugged, they slam them into the psych ward in Hoffman Estates which isn't the place you want someone who can't talk and/or defend themselves. I was told my husband was being passive/aggressive and wouldn't respond to them when because of the drugs, he couldn't talk and/or walk. Regardless, they did an involuntary committement and I had no way of stopping them from placing him in the psych ward where everyone that was connected with the ward couldn't understand what he was doing there. Maybe we need to do a class action suit to make them sit up and take notice of the very poor care they give the people they are entrusted with.
Joe December 17, 2012 at 04:15 PM
My father lived his final two years there. The care was decent enough,(although he ended up with some painful bed sores) but not worth the $8,500.00 a month he spent there. His assets were depleting rapidly, so they offered to lien his house, and be paid when we got it sold. The agreement was at no interest, which sounded too good to be true, but that was what they offered. The home was priced according to the market conditions, but was taking a very long time to sell. The real estate market was at its lowest for the 50 years we owned the home. We kept lowering the price, but still no offers. When it finally did sell, the payoff to the Lutheran Home was much higher than the lien. It turned out they decided to charge 24% annual interest, with the cost of money being at its lowest in nearly 50 years. I never felt entitled to an interest free loan, but it was offered and I accepted. The statements were still arriving every month during this time, and we were told to ignore them. I would look at one about every six months and the amount due was always the same. They sent us an informal letter along with one of the statements, saying they were going to start charging 24% interest. My fault for not noticing it, but registered mail would have worked for me. A reasonable rate would have been fine and even expected with the sale taking so long, but 24% is more than a loan shark rate! I feel (know) we were taken advantage of, and know my father would die again if he was aware of this!

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