KENTUCKY – Tuesday was a day or remembrance of a Magoffin County woman who passed away in 2013 due to complications from pressure sores.
In 2019 the Kentucky House of Representatives passed a resolution designating October 12 as Pressure Sore Awareness Day in honor of Bridgett Ann Howard, who was the daughter of Tommy and Kathy Howard. Born on June 18, 1981, she was diagnosed at birth with spina bifida, but never let that stop her, keeping a positive outlook through it all. In 2012, she began to suffer from pancreatitis, and during that time, she developed pressure ulcers, known as decubitus. Bridgett lost her battle on October 12, 2013, after becoming septic.
Representative John Blanton told Mortimer Media Group in 2019, “At the time of Bridgett’s passing, she suffered from bed sores, decubitus is the medical term, and we know it as bed sores or pressure sores or ulcers. So, the last couple years I’ve been working to try to do something in Frankfort where we could memorialize her and at the same time bring awareness to pressure ulcers.”
Blanton also worked with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, amending a Kentucky Administrative Regulation to include stiffer fines for pressure ulcer violations.
“We took the previous violation, which was a Type B violation, which was a $50 to $500 fine for any violation of pressure ulcers and we were able to change that to a Type A violation in honor of Bridgett, and that now carries between a $1,000 and $5,000 fine if someone is found with these pressure ulcers,” Blanton explained to Mortimer Media Group.
In February 2019 the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which sets the penalty categories for certain physical and mental harm affecting residents of long-term care facilities, rewrote the regulation for Type A violations, affirms the status of decubitus as a Type A violation.
Within the resolution, the House of Representatives expressed condolences for the passing of Howard, as well as urged all Kentuckians to remember her fight against decubitus. The named the amendment listing decubitus as a Type A violation through the Kentucky Administrative Regulations as the “Bridgett Ann Howard Regulatory Amendment” to 900 KAR 2:040.
“This is mainly to bring awareness to pressure ulcers that patients who are immobile for long periods of time can suffer from and they can be deadly,” Blanton said. “This is something we wanted to do in her honor just to make people aware and to increase and encourage these facilities housing people that’s going to be there for long-term-type things, for them to keep a close eye on these patients to ensure no one suffers.”