Mother Afflicted with MS Loses Legs Due to Nursing Home Neglect

Willemenia Walden has both legs amputated above the knee because of bed sores caused by nursing home neglect.

The symptoms of multiple sclerosis are insidious and invariably tragic. In this progressive condition characterized by the victim’s own immune system attacking their central nervous system, scleroses or scars develop in the white matter of the victim’s brain and spinal cord, affecting the ability of crucial nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord to communicate with each other. The effects of the disease upon Willemenia Walden were heartbreaking for family and friends to watch, a progressive deterioration that eventually left her at 35 unable to speak or even to move effectively on her own. In early 2007, Walden, a mother of two active and healthy teenaged daughters, was admitted to Haven Healthcare’s West Haven Connecticut facility in early 2007 because she required round-the-clock care that her family could no longer provide.

Unable to speak or express herself, the bedridden MS sufferer was basically “left to rot” in the facility, according to her sister, Darlene Wilbon, who had been Willemenia Walden’s primary caretaker. Severely neglected, Walden developed severe bed sores that were allowed to become necrotic. Although the pain must have been horrific, Willemenia was unable to complain. After several visits to Willemenia’s unsafe “Haven,” Wilbon noticed a strange smell emanating from her sister. The odor turned out to be from deep necrotic ulcers, several of them genuinely gangrenous, which had developed on Walden’s feet, ankles, and legs, and been allowed to go untreated.

The Haven Healthcare nursing home chain came under scrutiny from Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal several years ago after allegations of poor patient care and financial problems had surfaced. The company filed for bankruptcy in late 2007, and reemerged with a plan that sold most of the nursing homes to different operators and placed some of the homes in state receivership. The nursing home chain’s former CEO, Raymond Termini, resigned after it was alleged that he used company assets to purchase a Nashville music recording studio and an expansive lake house.

Lawyers representing Willemenia Walden forthrightly blamed “Termini’s greed” for their client’s severe bed sores and amputations.

Alexandra Reed writes for Connecticut personal injury law firm, Stratton Faxon.

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