According to the autopsy, 93-year-old Rebecca Zeni died of “septicemia due to crusted scabies” while a resident Shepherd Hills Nursing Home, which is operated by Pruitt Health. The family has filed suit. State health officials were notified about the scabies outbreak at the facility, but it was never inspected.
Scabies is a skin condition caused when parasitic mites burrow into the skin, lay eggs, and survive off of the body. Photographs of Ms. Zeni include a blackened hand and show flaking skin. A forensic pathologist who reviewed Ms. Zeni’s autopsy report stated, “This is one of the most horrendous things I’ve ever seen in my career as a forensic pathologist.”
Per the records of the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), state officials were notified of a scabies outbreak at Shepherd Hills Nursing Home in 2013 and 2015 before Ms. Zeni’s death. The report from June 4, 2015 shows at least 35 residents and staff were exposed to scabies. However, instead of personally inspecting the facility, a state health department employee emailed a manual on how to treat scabies. Eleven days later, Ms. Zeni died. According a DPH spokesperson, the agency is not required to inspect facilities when it is notified about a scabies infestation. DPH’s records do not show any reported cases of scabies at Shepherd Hills Nursing Home in 2014; however, the facility’s own records show at least seven cases of scabies that year. State officials were not notified.
When someone is injured or dies due to a health care provider’s negligence, financial recovery may be available. Such recovery is particularly important when permanent, life changing injuries are incurred. It is important to contact someone who understands the intricacies of the party’s right to recover.
Medical malpractice is a difficult area of law as it requires an understanding of both the legal practice and the mechanics of medicine. Abraham Watkins offers a free consultation to anyone wishing to pursue such claims.