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Bedsores, also called pressure ulcers are injuries to skin that cover bony areas of the body, such as hips and tailbone, and underlying tissue resulting from prolonged pressure on the skin. People most at risk of bedsores have medical conditions that limit their ability to change positions or cause them to spend most of their time in a bed such as people who are hospitalized or are in nursing homes. They can develop over hours or days but can be preventable when proper procedures are followed in medical facilities. When proper care is not administered, the outcome can be painful, resulting in a permanent injury and can even be life-threatening.
Hospital or Nursing Facility Neglect
At a hospital or nursing facility, neglect often contributes to a patient’s decline. One of the most frequent forms of injury stemming from facility/provider neglect and negligence are bedsores. And they can occur at these facilities when a care provider fails to re-position a patient and/or due to the poor handling of a patient, leading to friction or shearing forces on the skin.
Once a patient is admitted to a hospital or nursing home, the facility has a responsibility to provide patients with the best care possible. Hospitals and long-term care facilities can face legal liability when a patient develops bedsores if a duty of care was breached.
Despite the fact that health care facilities have a duty to provide quality medical care that enhances a patient’s life, more than 2.5 million patients are affected by bedsores every year across the United States. Not only extremely painful, bedsores can also lead to serious and even life-threatening complications including:
– Wound infection,
– Infection in the blood called sepsis,
– Bone infection called osteomyelitis,
– Tissue death/gangrene,
– Wrongful death,
Stages of Bedsores
– Stage 1
This is the mildest stage. These pressure sores only affect the upper layer of your skin.
Symptoms: Pain, burning, or itching are common symptoms. The spot may also feel different from the surrounding skin: firmer or softer, warmer or cooler.
– Stage 2
This happens when the sore digs deeper below the surface of your skin.
Symptoms: Your skin is broken, leaves an open wound, or looks like a pus-filled blister.
The area is swollen, warm, and/or red. The sore may ooze clear fluid or pus. And it’s painful.
– Stage 3
These sores have gone through the second layer of skin into the fat tissue.
Symptoms: The sore looks like a crater and may have a bad odor. It may show signs of infection: red edges, pus, odor, heat, and/or drainage. The tissue in or around the sore is black if it has died.
– Stage 4
These sores are the most serious. Some may even affect your muscles and ligaments.
Symptoms: The sore is deep and big. Skin has turned black and shows signs of infection: red edges, pus, odor, heat, and/or drainage. You may be able to see tendons, muscles, and bone. Surgery may be required for a stage 4 bedsore and can take up to years to heal.
Causes of Bedsores
Whether a patient is sitting too long in the same position or left lying in their beds for hours on end, bedsores are caused by neglect. Some of the most common contributing factors to bedsores include:
– Failing to change the patient’s position frequently throughout the day,
– Leaving the patient in soiled clothes, diapers, or bed linens,
– Failing to routinely monitor patients for the initial signs of pressure ulcers,
– Failing to intervene after detecting bedsores.
Stage 3 and stage 4 bedsores are considered never events—events that should never occur in a healthcare setting. Yet, millions of patients suffer pressure ulcers every year, and thousands will die from this preventable condition.
How Can a New York and New Jersey Bedsore Injury Attorney Help?
Bedsores are almost entirely preventable. If you or a loved one have suffered from bedsores due to neglect from a hospital or nursing home, Karasik Law Group will fight for your family’s right to compensation for every dollar you are entitled to under the law. Call us to today at (718) 502-9112 to schedule a free consultation. And be sure to visit our website at www.karasiklawyers.com. At Karasik Law Group, winning matters. Win with us! We speak for the injured; our results speak for themselves.