Every year, many patients die because of hospital malpractice, nursing staff malpractice or negligence from a facility-acquired bedsore. Bedridden and wheelchair-bound patients are the most at risk for developing bedsores (decubitus ulcers; pressure ulcers; pressure sores). These patients are victimized in hospital or nursing home settings providing substandard medical care or insufficient monitoring.
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As a soft tissue injury, a pressure sore develops when pressure on a bony area of the body presses against another surface like a mattress, cushion or pad. The pressure against skin causes tissue to break down creating a wound or ulcer at the affected site. Common areas of developing sores include the heels, ankles, buttocks, sacrum, spinal column, shoulders, neck and back of the head.
Restricted blood flow to the skin occurs at the first stage when the underlying tissue becomes irritated and damaged. During the initial stage, the pressure sore causes the area to become reddened and might present blisters. By Stage II, the pressure sore begins to ulcerate, forming a shallow bleeding crater as the skin’s outer layers die.
If the bedsore is allowed to advance to Stage III, the bleeding wound become significantly deeper exposing fatty deposits that reside just above the fascia layers. At Stage IV, the pressure sore has developed into a life-threatening condition where bone, muscle, ligaments and tendons are exposed at the bottom of the open wound. During Stage III & IV, the body is highly susceptible to infection of the bone (osteomyelitis) and blood (sepsis).
The elderly are not the only ones that suffer life-threatening bedsores. Younger patients are also at risk if their mobility is compromised for a lengthy period.Why Is It Medical Malpractice When a Pressure Sore Forms in a Hospital or Medical Facility?
In recent years, medical malpractice attorneys have seen an increase in the number of patients suffering pressure sores while living or staying in a health facility. Sadly, patients needlessly suffer pain for a medical condition that could easily have been prevented had proper standards of care been given. Through proper monitoring, routine daily inspections of the patient’s skin, quality nutrition and body repositioning every few hours, the medical staff could have easily help the patient avoid developing the wound.
Hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and assisted-living homes have a legal responsibility to create, implement and follow proper medical procedures to ensure the patients remain as healthy as possible. When the medical team is neglectful and the patient develops a bedsore, all healthcare providers including doctors, nurses and the medical facility can be held legally liable for their misconduct.
Proper and effective protocols can minimize the potential of developing a bedsore. These protocols include:
- Reposition the patient’s body at a minimum of one time every two hours
- Use pressure-relieving mattresses and cushions to minimize the amount of pressure on the patient’s body
- Change the patient’s bed sheets and clothing to eliminate excessive exposure to moisture on the skin, which could diminish its integrity
- Encourage healthy blood flow circulation by massaging the patient’s skin
- Perform daily body inspections to look for any detectable signs of irritation, redness or wounds
- Follow immediate protocol procedures when a bedsore is identified
- Ensure that the patient is receiving adequate nutrition and hydration
- Treat existing bedsores with effective wound dressings, surgical debridement procedures and antibiotics beneficial for healing open wounds.
With proper training, experience and knowledge, preventing a bedsore is easy. Quick recognition and effective immediate treatments can heal a developing sore during its initial stage to stop it from advancing. When medical staff is negligent and the patient develops a bedsore, it can be considered medical malpractice.Available Legal Options Available to Families Who Have a Loved One With a Pressure Sore at a Medical Facility
Families with loved ones in nursing homes and hospitals expect the medical staff to provide basic standards of care using these effective preventative measures. This is why it is often devastating when family members are told their loved one is suffering from a facility-bedsore.
Taking immediate legal action is essential to ensure a wound care specialist treats the pressure sore now.
Nursing Home Law Center LLC at (800) 926-7565 specializes in medical malpractice bedsore claims against hospitals and doctors. Our legal team provides a free review of your case to discuss your options for seeking financial compensation and holding medical professionals accountable for their neglect. Because of the state’s statute of limitations, it is essential to speak with our law firm now, to avoid being barred forever from receiving recompense.Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Resources