New Brunswick

Grand Falls man's 10-day hospital stay turned into a year-long bedsore nightmare

Another New Brunswick senior is sharing his story of suffering a severe bedsore while in hospital care, but this case led to a settlement out of court.

Vinal Michaud developed a deep open wound at the hospital in Fredericton

Vinal Michaud took legal action after developing a severe bedsore during a 10-day hospital stay in 2007. (Catherine Harrop/CBC)

Another New Brunswick senior is sharing his story of suffering a severe bedsore while in hospital care, but this case led to a settlement out of court.

Vinal Michaud of Grand Falls developed a deep open wound during a 10-day stay for kidney stones at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital in Fredericton in June 2007.

The pressure sore was only discovered by an extramural nurse when he returned home. He couldn't feel it because he's a paraplegic.  

"I didn't feel no pain, or whatever," Michaud said.

Vinal Michaud developed a friction bedsore that took almost a year to heal. He sued the DECH and they paid compensation before it reached court. 1:03

"So [the nurse] said, 'It's really bad.' She said, 'We're going to have to look at that right away.' So they contacted the doctor and they started with medication and ointments."

It took almost a year to heal, he said.

"I spent over a year that I couldn't get out of this house to get in my chair and go somewheres because I had a pressure sore," he said.

The monkey bar

Michaud has been in a wheelchair since 1954, when his spinal cord was crushed in a tractor accident at the age of 10.

A photo of a young Vinal Michaud before he was paralyzed. (Catherine Harrop/CBC)

At home today, he has a metal triangle hanging above his bed.

"This is a monkey bar," he explained. "I can grab a hold of that and lift myself up around the bed and take some pressure off my rear end or whatever."

Michaud holds onto the metal triangle, or monkey bar, over his bed at his Grand Falls home. (Catherine Harrop/CBC)

Relieving pressure can prevent bedsores.

Michaud was afforded no special equipment during his hospital stay 11 years ago. He had to keep moving himself holding the handrails.

"And after 10 days it had gotten to be pretty bad," he said.

"Now I can't understand why, they were giving me my bath every single day, I can't understand why they didn't see it."

Legal action

At his request, the extramural nurse took pictures of the wound and he took them to his lawyer. With the help of then lawyer Paul Duffie, he decided to sue the hospital.

That's the thing. They should have done that in the first place.- Vinal Michaud

A settlement was reached before the case went to court. Michaud didn't disclose the amount.

He said he sued not for the money but because he didn't want it to happen to any other person. On his next visit to Chalmers in 2009, a flotation mattress and monkey bar awaited him.

"That's the thing," he said. "They should have done that in the first place."

Lola Chiasson Hawkins

Lola Chiasson Hawkins and her son Steven at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre in Moncton. (Catherine Harrop/CBC)

Michaud told CBC News his story after learning what Lola Chiasson Hawkins is going through.

The 83-year-old Caraquet woman, who remains in hospital seven months after hip surgery, developed a stage four bedsore, the worst you can get. The wound was infected and to the bone when found.

Her condition is slowly improving, according to her son, Steven Hawkins.

He hasn't considered legal action, saying instead he wants accountability on the part of the health-care workers.

With files from Catherine Harrop