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Bed Sores Are Amongst Most Common Hospital Errors

elderly hospital patientRecognizing that the development of a bed sore during an admission to a hospital as something that simply should not occur, many facilities have begun to categorize their development for what they truly are— a serious medical error.

Bed sores now join a list of dreadful occurrences such as: operations on the wrong body part, patient suicides, foreign objects left in during surgery and deadly falls in the hospital as situations that simply shouldn’t occur in the presence of proper medical care.

According to reports in the Journal Gazette regarding serious medical errors in Indiana Hospital and surgery centers, the development of serious bedsores during an admission tops the list as the most common danger facing patients.

In addition to the recognition by individual state’s health departments as an unnecessary complication, the federal government has similarly categorized hospital-acquired bed sores (also referred to as: pressure sores, pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers) as an inexcusable medical condition categorized as a ‘never event’.  As part of the government’s list of never events, hospitals are prohibited from submitting claims for reimbursement to Medicare for expenses related to bed sore care.

About Hospital Bed Sores

Like bedsores in other medical and long-term care settings, hospital bed sores result when staff allow patients to remain in one position for long periods.  Over time, the pressure from the individual’s body restricts blood flow and causes tissue to die.  As the tissue dies, a wound– commonly referred to as a bed sore develops.

Understanding the clear risks that bed sores can pose to patients— particularly immobile ones—hospitals need to be mindful of the inherent risks and implement preventative measures such as: encouraging patients to be mobile and using specialized pressure relieving devices like air mattresses and cushions.

Given the overwhelming evidence that pressure sores can be preventable, their presence in a medical setting is inexcusable.  When they do develop, the patient or his or her family may be entitled to pursue a claim for damages against the hospital or medical facility.

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