An article published in the Las Vegas Sun, painted an unfortunately common set of circumstances; an overweight patient goes into a hospital for a medical procedure– only to acquire pressure sores during their stay. Sure, the same scenario can (and most certainly does) occur with people of average stature, but there definitely is a disproportionate number of obese patients who enter a hospital or nursing home only to develop a lingering souvenir.
The sun article concentrates on 60-year-old Tyrone Bush, a maintenance man, who was admitted to Desert Springs Hospital for a quadruple heart bypass surgery in 2008. It was during Bush’s recovery at the hospital, that he developed multiple bed sores (or pressure sores, pressure ulcers, decubitus ulcers) on his buttocks.
More than two years later, Mr. Bush continues to be plagued from the wounds and requires extensive medical treatment for them including doctors visits and debridement procedures– where the dead skin is removed to allow the new skin to grow over the open wounds.
Not surprisingly, the hospital where the wounds developed blames the wounds on Mr. Bush himself, implying that the wounds were unpreventable given his size.
Large Patients & The Development Of Bed Sores
Let’s face it, obesity is an epidemic. By some accounts, more than 40% of the adult population is obese. However, the same preventative techniques for ‘average’ patients most definitely applies to their larger counterparts.
Regular relief of pressure for the body is the most important preventative measure to prevent development of bed sores in all patients– particularly the immobile. When it comes to a larger patient, simply saying the patient is too big to move is not appropriate. Rather, if one person can not safely move the patient, two, three or even four staff members should be summoned for assistance.