Up to 60% of the human body is water. It supports every system of the body, making it vital to our survival, and yet, elderly patients in hospitals, nursing homes, and under the watch of doctors, nurses, and other caregivers routinely die from lack of water each year. The saddest part is that deaths due to elderly dehydration are entirely preventable. Where medical neglect or malpractice is clear, wrongful death lawsuits for these patients have been brought to seek justice for their families. But knowing the signs and symptoms of dehydration can help you prevent a wrongful death, and avoid the pain of a lawsuit.
The biggest risks of an elderly person not receiving enough water are dehydration and kidney disease or acute kidney injury. The elderly are at a higher risk of dehydration because they tend not to feel thirst as urgently as younger generations. Even if patients are paying attention to the amount of water they drink, they can still be coming up short. Medications, diuretics, diarrhea, blood loss, sweating, and diseases, like diabetes, can all contribute to dehydration. So even if a person is getting their 8 glasses a day, it may not be enough to counter the effects of their illness or treatment.
“Severe dehydration in elderly patients is usually a sign of medical neglect or malpractice in patient management. If left unrecognized, and untreated, it can result in the death of the patient,” explains Orlando attorney Jeff Badgley.
That means it is up to caregivers, nurses, doctors, clinics, and hospitals to make sure their patients are staying adequately hydrated. It’s as simple as making sure patients are drinking water regularly. In severe cases, fluids can be provided via an IV line to keep patients supplied with the water they need to fight their illness and survive.
Dehydration can be tricky to spot in its early stages and can mimic other ailments, but these signs may indicate a need for more water:
We’ve all heard the advice to drink enough glasses of water a day for optimum health, so why aren’t some elderly patients receiving the water they need to survive? Sometimes it can be attributed to caregiver apathy or even neglect. Busy hospitals seeking to minimize overhead expense may not have staffed adequately for patient care. In those types of situations, wrongful death lawsuits may be brought with the help of a medical malpractice attorney.
If your loved one suffered from dehydration and died as a result of it in a hospital or nursing home setting, contact a malpractice attorney at Badgley Law Firm to learn more about bringing a wrongful death suit. Call 407-781-0420 to schedule a free consultation with a medical malpractice attorney today.