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.