Residents in long-term care facilities, hospitals and even nursing homes are often too frail or weak to move their bodies frequently. As a result, they may spend countless hours in the same position – whether it is in a chair, bed or even wheelchair. This limited mobility can lead to painful, life-threatening pressure sores, also known as bedsores or decubitus ulcers.
Any patient who develops bedsores may have grounds for a lawsuit, because bedsores are the direct result of patient neglect or abuse. This is even more applicable if the patient was admitted without bedsores or has had no history of bedsores in the past.
What are Bedsores?
Bedsores occur in 11 percent of nursing home patients, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These lesions appear on the skin and are the result of direct, constant pressure on bony portions of the body such as the spine, back of the head, hips, shoulder blades, tailbone, elbows, heels and ankles. Increased, constant pressure to these areas depletes oxygen and blood supply to the skin, which forces the tissue to experience cell death.
Individuals that have limited mobility or who are bed-ridden often experience bedsores. Poor circulation or nutrition can also cause these sores to develop. Bedsores are classified into four stages – with stage four being the most serious and possibly life-threatening.
Bedsores Are Not a Patient’s Fault
A bedsore is not something that can be blamed on the patient. There are federal laws that protect hospital patients and nursing home residents and are designed to ensure they receive proper medical care. When the federal standards are not applied, a patient can develop bedsores.
Nursing homes and hospitals are required under that law to develop care plans for their patients. These care plans entail frequent movement (whether that means shifting the patient’s body weight often or moving them in and out of bed) to prevent bedsores from developing. Failure to reposition a patient and development of bedsores is the direct result of the medical facility’s negligence.
When Treatment is Not Received in Time
If a patient develops bedsores or arrives at a facility with bedsores, the facility is also required to administer treatment immediately. Without treatment, a bedsore will continue from stage one to stage four. By stage four, reconstruction and serious surgery may be required to remove infected and dead tissue. Stage four bedsores have the highest complication and death rate – and even if a patient survives, they will have a long, painful recovery.
Receiving Compensation – Contact an Attorney
If your loved one has developed bedsores, contact an attorney right away. An attorney can hold the negligent nursing home or medical facility responsible for their actions. Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC offers nursing home abuse victims and hospital injury victims the chance to receive compensation for their injuries. Call us or contact us online to schedule a free, no obligation consultation.