Nov 20, 2023

Defending or Settling HAPI Cases

Bedsores can result in extensive patient suffering and financial penalties. Here are some tips on how top organizations decide whether to defend or settle.

Hospital-Acquired Pressure Injuries (HAPIs) pose a challenge for healthcare institutions, not only due to due to the severity of the resulting ulcers but also their classification as CMS "never events". These factors make HAPI cases intricate to defend in malpractice suits, placing the responsibility on healthcare organizations to provide evidence of their involvement or lack thereof. Despite rigorous care efforts, situations can arise where HAPIs develop despite best intentions.



Faulty Equipment

One notable vulnerability lies in faulty equipment, which can jeopardize immobilized patient safety. Malfunctioning or improperly assembled hospital beds can exert excessive pressure, leading to ulcer formation. In one instance, a patient was awarded $1,000,000 after developing pressure sores from a faulty bed. The legal argument highlighted a gap in the bed's frame that allowed a metal rod to puncture cushions and press against the patient's back. This highlights a scenario where the hospital's position becomes more defensible than opting for a settlement.

Complications Due to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic further amplifies HAPI risks, both directly and indirectly. The necessity of intubation for severe COVID-19 cases can hinder patient repositioning, increasing vulnerability to HAPIs. Emerging research also underscores a potential direct connection between COVID-19 and HAPIs, attributed to cardiovascular constriction and reduced oxygen circulation throughout the body. The incidence of pressure injuries in COVID-19 patients is significantly higher, revealing how pandemic-related factors intersect with wound care challenges.

A General Guide to HAPI Cases

Healthcare claims professionals must evaluate many factors when deciding whether to defend or settle HAPI cases. Consult the following guide for general tips, although this is not comprehensive legal advice.

Defend HAPI Cases

  • Clear Initial Evaluation with Plan
  • Compliance with Plan Components
  • Timely Patient Turning
  • Photographs & Measurement of Wound
  • Plan Completion
  • Wound Healing

Early Resolution/Settlement

  • Incomplete/Missing Skin Assessments
  • Incomplete Turning Documentation
  • Non-Compliance with Wound Care Plan
  • Inconsistent/Incomplete Documentation
  • Graphic Photos of Uncontrolled Wound

Whether you decide to settle or defend, Medplace’s case review service ensures that you have all the facts you need to make a choice in less than 6 days. Fill out the form below to schedule a demo.

I'm Interested in External Peer Review

Complete the form to schedule a demo or request an expert.

protected by reCAPTCHA
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Adrienne Fugett, RN

Adrienne leads the Medplace clinical operations team and oversees the recruitment, onboarding, and training of the network. She holds over 30 years of experience in Medical ICU, Quality & Risk and Medical Malpractice Defense work.

Everything You Need to Know About Improving Medical Peer Review

This guide will help explain everything you need to know about improving Medical Peer Review.

Read More
November 20, 2023

2 Ways to Standardize Your Peer Review Process

Here's how to standardize your hospital's peer review process with clinical guidelines and data collection.

Read More
October 13, 2023

Tips for Doctors Navigating Medical Peer Review

So, you've been selected to either conduct or be reviewed by a peer at your hospital. Here is what you need to know.

Read More
October 10, 2023

Get started in minutes.