Frequently Asked Questions About Beds Sore (Pressure Ulcers)
Bedsores are usually associated with elderly people who are bedridden. But they are not a normal part of aging or an evitable outcome of nursing home care. In a well-run facility, they are usually preventable.
The personal injury attorneys of Ginsberg & O'Connor have successfully sued nursing homes for bed sores and other negligence in Burlington County and across New Jersey. Arrange a free consultation at 800-598-3944.
Frequently Asked Questions About Nursing Home Bed Sores
What is a bed sore?
Bed sore is the common name for decubitus ulcer, also known as pressure ulcer or pressure sore. Pressure ulcers are a progressive injury to the skin and surrounding flesh caused by restricted blood supply. They most commonly form around the bony areas of the body that bear the patient’s weight: the pelvis (hips, tailbone), feet (heels, ankles), arms (elbows, shoulders) or back of the head.
Bed sores begin as redness or blanching as the pressure of body weight inhibits blood flow. As the skin tissue dies, the skin cracks and open sores develop.
Are bed sores (pressure ulcers) really that serious?
The term “bed sore” does not do justice to these injuries. The affected area at first is tender. It soon becomes raw and painful. As the ulcer grows, it penetrates into deeper layers of skin. Untreated, the sores can eventually expose underlying muscle and bone. In addition to the physical agony, open sores put patients at risk for life-threatening infections. In late-stage pressure ulcers, drastic measures may include surgery to close the wound or even amputation. Patients with bed sores may become stressed, sleep-deprived and depressed.
Why do bed sores occur?
Medically speaking, bed sores are caused by poor circulation due to body weight pressure. In a nursing home setting, bed sores may indicate medical neglect. Nurses or aides should reposition patients several times a day. Pressure ulcers develop or worsen when bedridden patients are not turned at regular intervals. Sometimes they are left in one position all day or days at a time. Malnourishment and dehydration also contribute to bed sores and hamper healing.
Can bed sores be treated?
Pressure ulcers may heal completely with early intervention. Treatment is more difficult in latter stages, especially if the person’s health is already compromised. Treatment may involve:
- Relieving the pressure
- Stimulating blood flow
- Wound care
- Removal of dead tissue
- Pain management
- Proper nutrition
- Surgical intervention
Source: Mayo Clinic
Do we have grounds to sue?
Patients who are frail and emaciated, or who have other medical conditions, are more susceptible to bed sores. In other words, bed sores can develop even when the medical staff is attentive and proactive.
The key to a medical malpractice lawsuit is demonstrating neglect and substandard medical supervision. Our lawyers obtain patient records and ask the right questions to understand what happened. Was the patient unable to turn him or herself? How often was the patient examined by a doctor? At what stage was the bed sore diagnosed and what steps were taken? Was the family informed? Did the facility delay transfer (or fail to transfer) the patient to a hospital?
Compensation for a bed sore lawsuit may include the costs of medical intervention, support services such as counseling, and the patient’s pain and suffering.
We Hold Nursing Homes Accountable
Our Mount Laurel firm handles personal injury and medical malpractice cases in Burlington, Camden, Atlantic and Middlesex counties. Call us toll free at 800-598-3944, or contact us online. We offer a free attorney consultation, and you do not owe attorney fees unless we take the case and recover compensation for your loved one.