The Cassidy Law Firm Blog

Monday, October 7, 2019

Bed Sores

A bed sore, also referred to as a pressure ulcer, decubitus ulcer, or pressure sore, is a painful condition that can quickly become worse without the proper medical attention. Unfortunately, bed sores are completely avoidable when a patient is given the necessary care so the condition can quickly worsen if the patient continues to receive subpar care. This is why bed sores are commonly seen in medical malpractice cases. A bed sore is evidence in and of itself that a patient was not receiving the level of attention needed from his or her health care providers. Negligent care led to the development of the bed sore and the patient brought suit to recover monetary compensation for the harm suffered.

How do bed sores develop?

Many patients in hospitals and nursing homes are bedridden. The person may not even be able to shift the weight of his or her body in the bed. The continued, unrelenting pressure of the body on the mattress leads to the development of bed sores. The pressure prevents proper blood flow to an area of the skin. The skin will then become red or irritated and can then progress to an open wound know as a bed sore. The skin can quickly go from red and irritated to an open, bleeding wound which can then get infected without the proper care.

To prevent the development of bed sores, medical staff and caretakers must regularly move and adjust the patient to relieve the pressure between the patient’s body and the mattress. In addition to regularly moving and adjusting a patient, at least once every two hours, pressure-relieving mattresses can also work to prevent the development of bed sores. Cushions can be used to relieve some pressure as well. Additionally, the patient’s clothes and bed sheets should be regularly changed to prevent the build-up of moisture which can act as a catalyst for the development or worsening of a bed sore. Proper hydration and nourishment can also help prevent bed sores.

Patients should be regularly inspected for any signs of redness which may be an initial sign that a bed sore is developing. If a bed sore is not properly treated as soon as it appears, it can quickly worsen leading to potentially devastating, and even fatal, consequences for the patient. There are stages of bed sore progression. 

  • A stage 1 bed sore is an irritation of the skin surface.
  • A stage 2 bed sore is a blister or shallow crater formed where outer skin layers have died.
  • A stage 3 bed sore is when the deeper layers of the skin have eroded and an open, bleeding wound has formed.
  • A stage 4 bed sore is the worst kind of bed sore. It is where the skin has eroded so far that muscle and bone are exposed.
An untreated bed sore can result in infection leading to fatal renal failure and amyloidosis.

Malpractice Attorney Standing Up for Bed Sore Victims

Bed sores should not develop in patients. Even Medicare has deemed bed sores to be preventable injuries that should not develop in patients. This is because bed sores can be stopped from ever developing if health care providers are providing the level of care and attention to a patient that they should be. Bed sores can not only be incredibly painful and uncomfortable, but they are also expensive to treat. Medicare data shows that bed sore treatment costs an average of $40,000. If you or a loved one have suffered bed sores because of negligent medical care, The Cassidy Law Firm will work to enforce your legal right to full and fair compensation. Contact us today.

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