Change comes to statewide health regulation after Magoffin County woman's death

MAGOFFIN COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - One Magoffin County man made it his mission to make sure no one dies the same death as his daughter.

Wheelchair-bound, Tommy Howard's daughter 32-year-old Bridgett Ann Howard had Spina Bifida.

"She never let it bring her down. She always had a positive outlook towards life," recalled Howard.

However, her life ended unexpectedly on October 12th, 2013 due to septic shock caused by bedsores.

Bedsores, also known as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers are injuries to your skin and underlying tissue resulting from prolonged pressure on the skin.

"It's totally preventive. It's totally, 100% able to stop bedsores," Howard pointed out.

After years of work, a declaration was held in her memory on Friday.

"October 12th is Pressure Sore Awareness Day in the Commonwealth of Kentucky in honor of Bridgett Ann Howard," said 92nd District Representative John Blanton.

Rep. Blanton campaigned for the day.

That is not the only process they worked for.

"The fine used to be $50. Now it's $10,000," Howard said.

He hoped while increasing the cost, health practicians will be less likely to commit future offenses.

Rep. Blanton said they increased the Kentucky Administrative Regulation (KAR) from Type "B" to Type "A".

Officials told WYMT type "B" violation is a violation of concern. Type "A" violation is a serious violation that could lead to death.

"We want to try to prevent as much of this and another family from having to go through this," Rep. Blanton pointed out.

Magoffin County Judge-Executive Matthew Wireman wanted to help.

"We are mirroring that here and naming the same day as Pressure Sore Awareness Day here in Magoffin County," said Wireman. "It's an unfortunate event but I'm glad to be part of something that brings intentional focus on something that is so important."

More than 10 family members came to support the ceremony.

One of Bridgett's nephews also read a touching essay about his aunt.

After he read the essay, he presented Rep. Blanton and Wireman with two plaques to signify their appreciation for their hard work and dedication to this cause.