But what happens when a pressure sore begins to develop on a patient?
Even assuming that facilities have taken all of the necessary precautions in implementing pressure sore preventative techniques, from a medical / legal perspective their responsibility doesn’t end there. Facilities must monitor each patients condition and implement changes in the care plan when the need arises. Simply continuing with the patients treatment plan after the patient has developed a pressure sore in not acceptable.
A prime example of a hospitals failure to recognize a developing pressure sore on a patient made the news headlines across the pond. Forty-seven-year-old Angela Banks, received a horrific souvenir during her stay at a British Hospital when she developed a pressure sore (also referred to as: pressure ulcer, decubitus ulcer or bed sore). Banks, who was born with spina bifida and remained confined to a wheel chair, developed multiple pressure sores on her buttocks during a hospitalization.
The pressure sores advanced to the point that the open wounds allowed an infection to infiltrate the bones in the area of her thigh and pelvis. The infection was so severe that Banks required a surgery to remove a portion of her infected femur and required more than 30 months of treatment in the hospital for wound care.
Even after getting discharged, Ms. Banks remains impaired with further limited mobility and a heightened risk for developing more pressure sores in the future.
Alleging that the hospital staff should have identified the pressure sore and infection in a quicker manner, Mr. Banks successfully settled a negligence claim with the hospital where the wounds developed and progressed.
My take on untreated pressure sores…
Regularly working on pressure sore cases, I tend to see patients getting hit with a 1-2 punch after facilities negligently perform their pressure sore prevention tasks and then make matters worse by failing to identify and treat the wound. While there frequently is no excuse in allowing a wound to initially develop, when staff ignore a developing wound– things only get worse– and further solidifies allegations of negligence against them!