$3,100,000Pressure sore death
$2,333,000Fall involving traumatic brain injury
$1,500,000Bedsore settlement
$1,499,000Dementia patient injury
$1,250,000Repeated fall injuries

A – E


Active Support Surface – A type of support surface with the ability to change load distribution properties with or without the applied load.

Adult Day Care – A non-residential facility which provides activities for elderly and/or handicapped individuals; most centers operate 10-12 hours per day and provide meals, social/recreational outings, and general supervision; adult daycare centers operate under a social model and/or a health care model, they may focus on providing care only for persons with Alzheimer’s and related dementias or their services may be available for any disabled adult; some have on-site nursing, some may provide transportation and personal care as well as counseling for caretakers.

Air – A component of supportive surfaces used to minimize the development of bed sores. Example: alternating air mattress.

Air Fluidized Therapy – Aiding the person with a bedsore by using a bed that has body support using thousands of mini soda-lime glass beads which are suspended by pressurized, temperature-controlled air; the person is on a sheet which is over the beads; the specific bed is for people with or at high risk for posterior pressure sores, burns, grafts or donor areas; the pressure against the patient’s skin surface is less than the capillary refilling with blood flow which in turn helps re-grow tissue.

Albumin – Any protein with water solubility, which is moderately soluble in concentrated salt solutions, and experiences heat coagulation; egg whites contain albumin.

Alginates – An absorbent dressing for a wound that is made from soft non-woven fibers made from seaweed; the dressing forms a gel-like covering so the wound area is moist, but the dry dressing is lightweight.

Alternating Pressure – A feature of mattresses commonly used in patients who are at risk for developing bed sores or who may have developed bed sores already. Alternating pressure mattresses provide redistribution of pressure via programmed changes in the hardness of the mattress.

Amputation – Removal of a body extremity by trauma or surgery.

Amyloid Protein – Insoluble fibrous groups of proteins that share specific traits in structure.

Amyloidosis – Disease which occurs when amyloid proteins build up in organs.

Antimocrobials – Substance that kills or stops the growth of microorganisms.

Assisted Living Facility – A place that supervises and assists residents of that facility with activities of daily living, help with planning the services outside of the facility for health related needs, and watch the everyday activities to promote and keep their health, safety, and well-being. These facilities are regulated and licensed at state level.

Autolytic Debridement – The use of the body’s own enzymes and moisture to re-hydrate, soften and liquefy eschar and slough; the only tissue that is liquefied is necrotic and causes no pain to the patient.

Autonomic Dysreflexia – AD or “autonomic hyperreflexia” is characterized by large amounts of sympathetic discharge occurring in association with a spinal cord injury or disease; this is a medical emergency.

Autonomic Nervous System – A section of the peripheral nervous system that acts as the control system functioning below the level of consciousness and controls visceral functions such as: heart rate, salivation, sweating, pupil diameter, urination, and sexual arousal.

Autopsy – A way to determine the cause of death or progression of a disease through body examination post-mortum.


Bedridden Patients – People who are confined to a bed secondary to illness for a long, indefinite period of time.

Bed Sore – A wound that develops secondary to unrelieved pressure in patients with limited mobility. A bedsore may begin as a small area of discoloration and gradually progress to an open wound.

Bone Infection – When bacteria invades the bone through the blood or open contact with the environment. The infection disintegrates the bone and causes harm to the local blood supply which prevents the antibiotics from reaching the bacteria.


Care Centers – Also referred to as Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFE), are a relatively recent care option for seniors who can no longer live independently. Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly provide assistance with daily living requirements like meals and laundry, bu the facilities have no medical accreditation and hence can not provide medical care. RCFE’s have a duty to relocate their residents when their condition deteriorates or when then they require medical attention for conditions such as, bed sores.

Cellulitis – A highly spread bacterial infection in the skin and tissues beneath the skin; cellulites usually begins as a small tender area with swelling and redness to follow (this can be accompanied by chills, fever, sweating, and swollen lymph nodes)

Chemical Debridement – A way to dissolve necrotic tissue by using enzymes and other compounds.

Clinitron Bed – Air fluidized bed that combines air fluidized therapy and low air loss therapy on an articulating frame that allows relief from bed pressure sores to the patient; the head can also be raised.

Closed Cell Foam – A component frequently used in supportive devices composed of non-permeable structure in which there is a barrier between the cells, preventing gasses or liquids from passing through the foam.

Colostomy – A surgical procedure, which can be undone later, where a stoma is formed by drawing the healthy end of the large intestine or color through an incision in the anterior abdominal wall and sewing it into place; this allows for an alternative way for feces to exit the body.

Coefficient of Friction – A scientific method for measuring the amount of friction existing between two surfaces.

Contingency Fee – Any fee for services provided where the fee is only payable to the representative party if there is a favorable outcome; in the law; in the law, it is defined as “a fee charged for a lawyer’s services only if the lawsuit is successful or is favorably settled out of court… contingent fees are usually calculated as a percent of the client’s net recovery.”

Contractures – The loss of joint motion because of structural changes in non-bony tissue (muscles, ligaments and tendons).


Debridement – Removing non-living tissue from pressure ulcers, burns, and other wounds.

Dehydration – Occurs when the body does not have enough water and fluid as it should to keep working; the loss of too much fluid in the body; can be caused by vomiting and diarrhea; sever dehydration is a life threatening emergency.

Dementia – Symptoms that are caused by disorders that affect the brain; it is not a simply defined disease; the people affected are unable to do normal activities (dressing themselves, eating, problem solving, emotional control, agitation increase, change of personality and memory loss)

Duoderm – A wound dressing to keep the healing area moist and protected from contaminants.


Envelopment – The ability of a supportive surface to conform or mold to the unique form of the body. Medical professionals look at the envelopment features of surfaces when determining if a surface is acceptable for a patient who may be at risk for developing bed sores.

Eschar – The dry scab or slough that forms on the skin as the wound begins to heal or by action of a corrosive or caustic substance.

Exudate – When fluid which is high in protein and cellular elements excrete out of blood vessels secondary to inflammation and is deposited in nearby tissues.

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