Lawyer Resources for Bed Sores

pressure-sores-in-nursing-homesWhile they take a while to develop, pressure sores (also referred to as pressure ulcers, decubitus ulcers, or bedsores) are a clear sign that long-term care institutions are providing poor care to its residents or patients. Unfortunately, in recent years the number of pressure sores amongst nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and hospital patients has drastically increased. In fact, studies show patients are far more likely to develop pressure sores today than they were a decade ago.

What is the cause behind these pressure sores?

The reason that these pressure sores are associated with inadequate care is because they develop because of unrelieved pressure over an extended period on the bony parts of the body. As the pressure builds up, it restricts the blood flow. As a result, the tissue and skin that does not receive the blood it needs begins to die. This gradually leads to a wound in that area.

Where do these sores develop in nursing home and hospital patients?

Oftentimes these pressure sores will develop in parts of the body that have little tissue or muscle to mitigate the weight of the body. Especially over a longer period, these areas are far more prone to developing issues. Even though these problems may occur anywhere on the body, the most likely areas that these problems may develop include:

  • The back of the head
  • The back
  • The heels
  • The buttocks

Other factors contributing to the development of decubitus ulcers

The lack of movement and positioning are two major factors in the development of pressure sores, but personal hygiene and the patient’s overall health also play an important role. Dehydration and poor nutrition may hinder the body’s ability to heal and may negatively affect skin health. Oftentimes neglect and maltreatment can lead to a patient sitting in his or her own feces and urine or left in wet bedding and/or clothing. Again, this can deteriorate the skin and lead to the development of pressure sores.

Further complications related to open pressure sores

When the pressure is never relieved and combined with conditions such malnourishment and incontinence, chances of a developing pressure sores increase dramatically. Despite the pain that will accompany these pressure sores, it also opens the door to further serious medical complications. These may include:

  • Gangrene
  • Osteomyelitis
  • Sepsis
  • Infection
  • Amputation of affected body part
  • Death

Early detection is important to the treatment of pressure ulcers

In order to be able to deal with these pressure sores as effectively as possible, it is important to identify them at the earliest possible stage. The deeper tissue they affect, the harder it becomes for the skin to heal. Ultimately, the best thing is to never have these sores develop in the first place.

Hold the facility responsible for the negligent care of your loved one

When someone is in the care of a medical facility or nursing home, it is that facility’s responsibility to ensure that these pressure sores do not develop. Basic prevention methods include:

  • Regularly moving patients at consistent intervals
  • Preventing malnutrition and dehydration
  • Making sure the patients remain dry and clean
  • Using specialized cushions or mattresses to relieve pressure for high-risk patients

Be aware of the dangers. Bed sores can be fatal.

The majority of the time, pressure sores develop because the facility is not doing an adequate job of providing patient care. Oftentimes the underlying cause is inadequate training of staff or under-staffing. Remember that it is their responsibility to provide adequate care, but being aware of the conditions may make it possible to avoid the problem from developing altogether.

Lawyers Who Take Bed Sore Cases Seriously

There still is a feeling that amongst some in the medical-legal community that bed sore cases simply don’t have much value and aren’t worth prosecuting. To the contrary, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers recognizes bed sores as one of the most visible signs of poor care in nursing homes and other medical facilities. Typically, bed sores are a tragic emblem of a system that is broken– where patient needs take a distant position after facilities tend to their profitability. We also are mindful of the devastating impact these wounds have on the individual and their family. Our experience litigating bed sore cases has earned us a reputation as attorneys willing to do what it takes to hold facilities fully responsible for these horrendous injuries that can contribute to complications or even death. We invite you to talk with us as soon as you become aware of the presence of a pressure sore on your loved one.

Award of One Million in Bedsore LawsuitA Cuyahoga County judge has ordered the Ohio nursing facility Beachwood Pointe Care Center to pay $1 million to surviving family members of a resident who lost her life through the “negligence and recklessness” of the facility. A lawsuit was filed against the nursing home claiming that 71-year-old resident Mary Stevens succumbed to her illness and injuries in 2012 that were allegedly caused by negligence of the staff. The Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court jury found that Stevens’ estate should be awarded $440,000 in compensatory damages and $560,000 in punitive damages.

The lawsuit claimed that Ms. Stevens sustained “fatal” and “severe” injuries including infected bedsores that took her life. In addition, the lawsuit claims that Mary’s physician and family never received notification that she was suffering with her injuries and as a resident of Beachwood Pointe Care Center, Ms. Stevens was never “provided a safe environment” before her death.

Bedsores Are Life-Threatening Problems

Nursing Home Lawsuit and Bed SoresThe family of an 88 year old man in La Junta, Colorado won a $3.2 million settlement after suing Pioneer Healthcare Center, a Rocky Ford nursing home and the nursing home the man was being cared for in when he died due to complications from a bed sore the size of a baseball. After the man developed the bedsore, it was claimed that both the bedsore and resulting complications were hidden from the man’s family. Bedsores are caused by pressure on the joints when a patient does not move for long periods of time and the result is an open sore caused by tissue death that is extremely painful and can become infected and contribute to a number of complications that includes death.

Patient’s Long-Term Relationship With Facility

Fraizer began his stay at the nursing home in 2009 and was also employed for the facility as a janitor. He had Parkinson’s disease, and eventually found himself confined to a bed and not eating or getting proper hydration. By October of 2010, Fraizer had sores on his buttock and scrotum which were easily noticeable by the smell that accompanied them. Regardless of this fact, the nursing home did not inform Fraizer’s family of his condition and it was not until a nurse’s aide came out and informed the family that the family was finally aware.

Inattentive Care Shown in Pressure SoresDespite the perception that pressure sores, also known as bedsores, shouldn’t be a common problem in urban areas, pressure sore lawsuit filings in large, modern cities– such as Chicago— are more common than you may think. Do not allow yourself to be misled if a facility or caregiver insists that the development of pressure sores is just an inevitable fact of life and growing old. The truth of the matter is that pressure sores develop very slowly over time and the presence of stage four pressure sores is usually the result of inattentive caregivers over a long-term period.

Treatment of Early Stage Pressure Sores Necessary to Prevent Complications Down the Road

To understand the severity of neglect that is required in order to allow an elderly patient to develop stage four pressure sores, we need to understand how pressure sores develop and how they can be prevented or treated in their early stages. When a patient is confined to a wheelchair or hospital bed, continued pressure to the joints and areas of the body that have continued contact with the hard surface create pressure that limits the circulation to the affected area. Because the blood is cut off to the area, the cells are deprived of much needed oxygen and begin to slowly die off. This process takes time to occur and is typically exhibited in four different stages.

Steps for Caregivers to follow for Nursing Home CarePressure sores can occur when a person has been laying in one position for too long. They are common for the elderly who are bedridden or sit in a wheelchair most of the day. They usually form where the bone sits close to the skin, such as ankles, back, heels, and hips. Pressure sores can become infected, which can be life threatening for the elderly. Use these 5 steps to make sure your loved one does not develop a pressure sore.

Keep Skin Clean And Dry

One way to keep pressure sores from developing is to make sure your loved one is regularly bathed and put back into a clean and dry bed.

Nutrition leads to helping heal some soresElder abuse is a widespread issue in American society. Unfortunately, nursing homes often sacrifice the care of senior citizens in their quest to become profitable entities. Even more unfortunate is the fact that abuse is often an intermingled problem. When a senior citizen suffers from one form of abuse, such as poor nutrition, it often triggers other health issues. A senior citizen may suffer from inflamed bed sores as a result of poor nutrition. Bed sores that may have otherwise healed under a proper diet regimen may become infected when one is receiving poor nutrition.

The Increased Risk of Bed Sores in the U.S.

Over 2.5 million individuals suffer from bed sores at long-term care facilities throughout the U.S. The Joint Commission also reports that over 60,000 senior citizens die as a result of developing pressure sores. Pressure sores may be prevented by proper care. Often, nursing home workers are required to perform bed transfers as a way to relieve pressure on the body of a resident. They may need to assist a resident in changing sides to relieve the pressure. Nursing home workers often fail to provide this much-needed relief to residents in the course of their busy schedules. They may be overworked and not have the energy to perform a bed transfer. They may be overwhelmed by too many other job duties to perform bed transfers as required.

Failure to ID and Treat Wounds now in Legal TroubleMillions of our nation’s senior citizens suffer from painful bed sores every year. For many of these patients, receiving proper care is never an option. They reside within long-term care facilities that are understaffed or contain poorly trained workers. Nursing home employees may not understand how to care for senior citizens who have bed sores or know how to prevent this painful condition.

These excuses do not allow nursing homes and their staff members to escape culpability for their acts. Federal and state laws afford elderly nursing home residents basic human rights. Elderly individuals have the right to receive proper nutrition and care. They have the right to receive care that prevents bed sores, rather than triggers this condition.

Bed Sore Victims Suffer Without Care

How-Quickly-Can-Bedsores-Develop-on-a-Nursing-Home-Patient-300x152Decubitus ulcers, commonly referred to as bedsores or pressure ulcers, develop in individuals that are chair bound or bed bound for an extended period. Many ulcers begin forming in as little as a week when lying or sitting in the same place. On average, bed sore developing skin ulcers become serious in less than a month of being bound to a chair or bed.

Bedsores on the skin are caused by continuous pressure and irritation at any specific location on the body. However, bedsores tend to be common on a prominent bony area including the buttocks, hips, elbows, back of the head, shoulders, lower back and heels. Bed sores can be minimized when taking preventative measures including changing body position whenever possible to relieve pressure.

Most Common Bed Sore Occurrences

Nursing Home Reports for InspectionsWhen Mary Chiu discovered the bedsores that her 85-year old mother was struggling with, she was shocked to say the least. Her mother suffered bedsores on her big toe, heel, left leg, and the one on her backside was deep enough to where it exposed the bone. Hospital treatments for the sores and subsequent bacterial infections became standards, upwards of a half a dozen times her mother needed to go to the hospital. Her mother finally passed away because of respiratory failure months later.

Slow justice indeed

Because Mary Chiu wanted a thorough investigation of the nursing home, she wrote the Los Angeles County public health officials in September of 2011. The 7-page complaint detailed everything she thought went wrong in the case that led to her mother’s suffering. In December of that year, she decided to take legal steps and sue the Arcadia Health Care Center.

Tracking implemented to heal pressure soresLosing a loved one is never easy – but to lose someone because of neglect or negligence in a nursing home will make the loss far more difficult. Two residents died because of neglect at the McKenzie Towne Care Centre in Calgary. These two residents passed away because of badly infected bedsores. The care center is now mandated to track these wounds on a computer, to ensure that nothing goes unnoticed or untreated in the future.

More about the situation

Revera Inc. runs the home that these two patients died in – this is a private care company that has a contract with the province. However, according to Health Minister Fred Horne, it would not be necessary to rescind the contract with Revera Inc. after the company promised to explore ways to give families more say, implement updated care plans for residents, and provide more training for its staff.

Turning Prevents SoresPressure sores, also known as decubitus ulcers, bedsores, and pressure ulcers are a clear sign that neglect may be a serious problem in a nursing home or indicate medical malpractice in a hospital. The reason behind it is that these pressure sores develop when there is unrelieved, constant pressure on the skin. This may cause life-threatening injuries such as infection.

These pressure sores develop in the areas of the body where the skin and bone are within close contact of one another. This includes our heels, ankles, elbows, back, and hips. While many nursing home residents are sedentary for a prolonged period of time, there is no excuse for the development of pressure sores.

Prevention of pressure sores development

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Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial. Lisa
After I read Jonathan’s Nursing Home Blog, I decided to hire him to look into my wife’s treatment at a local nursing home. Jonathan did a great job explaining the process and the laws that apply to nursing homes. I immediately felt at ease and was glad to have him on my side. Though the lawsuit process was at times frustrating, Jonathan reassured me, particularly at my deposition. I really felt like Jonathan cared about my wife’s best interests, and I think that came across to the lawyers for the nursing home. Eric
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