ALTO PASS — The term “bedsore” doesn’t adequately describe the thing that was tunneling into Rebecca Nimmo’s spinal column on May 8, 2009, the day relatives took her to an emergency room in Anna.
Bedsores, caused by pressure from lying in one position for days or weeks, can occur. When they are extreme they are known as “decubitus ulcers” and often eat through flesh to the bone. They can be fatal.
The 41-year-old Nimmo, of Alto Pass, was bedridden and suffering from a “stage 4 decubitus ulcer” larger than a softball, the worst kind of bedsore. It would soon kill her.
The former teacher’s aide suffered from spina bifida, a congenital condition involving the spine that often leads to partial paralysis.
How Nimmo’s ulcer got so large and dangerous concerned Heartland Medical Center in Marion, where Nimmo was transferred just hours after arriving at the hospital.
A redacted investigative report from the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Human Services states that the medical center reported “the living conditions of her home to the appropriate authorities.” A hospital employee called the OIG’s abuse hotline.
Rebecca Nimmo died two days later on May 10, and on May 11, an OIG investigator typed his report stating that because of death, Nimmo “… was not eligible for an investigative assessment.”
The OIG investigator stated he contacted Williamson County Coroner Mike Burke.
Burke said he directed that an autopsy be completed by a criminal pathologist because, “Neglect was an issue.” He said he turned the matter over to the Illinois State Police in Ullin, which investigated but did not bring charges, according to court records.
In an interview with the News-Democrat, her husband, Bill Nimmo, said he had been unaware that a large lethal sore was endangering his bedridden wife.
“I didn’t know anything about it,” Nimmo said.
However, another family member had been getting paid by the Department of Rehabilitative Services, an arm of the human services department, to care for Rebecca Nimmo. The caregiver could not be reached.
A check with the Illinois Comptroller’s Office showed that the relative had worked for nearly a decade as Nimmo’s caregiver. Records show he quit the $9.85-an-hour job a month before she died.
“He wasn’t much help,” Bill Nimmo said.