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Filing a Bed Sore Lawsuit Against an Illinois Nursing Home
By Nursing Home Law Center
What Causes Bedsores?
Bed sores (also know as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers) are skin and tissue injuries resulting from pressure over extended periods of time. Areas vulnerable to bed sores are bony parts of the body such as knees, ankles, and heels. Common causes of this disease are sustained pressure, friction, or shearing (when two parts of the body move in opposite direction).
Nursing home residents often experience this problem because of their sustained periods of confined. Thus, those using a wheelchair often find sores in their tailbone or in the backs of their arms or legs. Those confined to a bed often develop sores in the back of their head, shoulder blades, or hips. However, bed sores are completely preventable. With proper care and treatment, health care providers can ensure that the elderly and others do not develop this disease. Therefore, if bed sores do show on patients under the care of a nursing home, this may signal negligence on the part of the staff.
What are the Stages of Bedsores?
There are four general stages in bed sore development. In the first stage, the wound is still intact-it has not yet torn open. It may have a different level of tenderness or color compared to the surrounding skin area. Further, it may lighten upon touch. In stage two, the sore begins to resemble the appearance of a blister, and maintain a red or pinkish hue. At this point, the outer layer and even some of the underlying layer of the skin will be damaged beyond repair. Stage three will exhibit significant skin loss as the yellowish wound begins to appear more like a crater than a skin rash, and extends beyond the primary site to the surrounding area. Peeking into the site of a stage-four bed sore may evidence bones, muscles, or other dead tissue. At this point, the damage has not been done as it continues to engulf healthier skin sites.
What are the Risks Factors for Bedsores?
Understanding the causes of bed sores is a great start in preventing their development, and one should consider a list of risk factors that greatly contribute to their emergence. Some of the risk factors associated with these sores include but are not limited to the following: dry skin, incontinence, immobility, dehydration, poor nutrition, improper bed positioning, and other related conditions and diseases. From these factors, one can easily choose a lifestyle or course of treatment designed to prevent the occurrence of sores by repositioning the person in focus, using items to relieve pressure, guaranteeing dry bedding and seat materials, and monitoring areas you think may be prone to the spread of the disease.
What do I Need to do to File a Bedsore Lawsuit in Illinois?
If you or a loved one develops a bed sore while under the care of someone else (such as a nursing home), you may be able to bring a lawsuit against them if their care was negligent and caused the injury. If you are unsure whether you want to or can bring a case, there are still things you should be doing to ensure that a potential claim is not lost. For instance, you should take date-stamped pictures of the wounds, ask for treatment documentation from the health care providers, and do a background check of any complaints or cases brought against the provider for similar grievances. Then, if you decide to bring a case, you will be in the best position possible.
It is important to note though that cases in Illinois are barred by a statute of limitations after two years of the incident. 735 ILCS 5/13-201. So, it is important to gather your materials and come to a decision whether to bring an action relatively quickly once an injury has been sustained and discovered. A competent lawyer can help you do this as well as secure all necessary documents and zealously advocate your interests to guarantee any nursing home negligence is compensated to the fullest extent. If you believe that your loved one developed bed sores in an Illinois nursing home or hospital complete the contact form here and an attorney will contact you within 24-hours.