Millions of people will develop bedsores this year and tens of thousands of them will die from these painful and debilitating, potentially fatal wounds. Tens of thousands of bedsore victims and the families of those who died from bedsores file bed sore lawsuits every year seeking justice for negligence and neglect.
Patients who are forced to lay or sit in one position for a long time may develop wounds on the skin called early-stage bedsores or pressure ulcers. These wounds develop in areas of constant and direct pressure, such as where skin and surface meet under boney prominences. For example, patients who sit or lay in one position for too long may develop bedsores on their elbows, behind the knees, along the spine, on the backs of their head and ears, and on the ankles; anywhere the patient’s bones put pressure on their skin.
Patients in wheelchairs may develop bedsores in areas such as the upper thighs and buttocks, the soles of the feet and the area behand the knees. They may also develop on the patient’s tailbone, spinal column, lower arms, elbows, and shoulder blades.
Bedsores typically develop in four stages and specific treatment is needed for each individual stage. When medical guidelines are followed, early diagnosis should prevent worsening injury.
Stage 1: decreased blood flow causes an area of discolored skin that may feel hotter or cooler to the touch then nearby areas. If you press on the wound, it will not change color, but doing so will cause the patient significant pain. This is the mildest stage of bedsore as only the top-most layers of skin are affected. If the patient receives proper treatment, the bedsore can heal in a week or less, depending on the patient’s health.
Stage 2: the skin has broken, and the sore has penetrated deeper into the layers of the skin. A stage 2 bedsore may look like a blister and it may ooze fluid or pus. The area around the wound will look angry, red, and swollen, and will be hot to the touch. The patient may feel a deep and burning pain. With immediate proper treatment, the wound can heal in days to weeks.
Stage 3: The bedsore has penetrated the fatty tissue under the layers of skin and will give off a foul smell. The wound will have raised edges, while the skin in the middle may appear black and dead. Pus or fluid may drain from the wound and treatment may require debridement and antibiotics. Depending on the patient’s health, a stage 3 bedsore can heal in weeks to months, provided the patient receives proper medical care.
Stage 4: The bedsore has penetrated the ligaments, tendons, and muscles and you may see underlying bone. The bedsore is black, appear infected, emits a foul odor, and oozes fluid or pus. If proper treatment is received including surgical intervention, the wound may heal in months to years, depending on the continuing health of the patient.
Any patient who suffers late-stage bedsores may be entitled to hold their healthcare providers liable for their pain and suffering and other damages they have sustained. Speak to an experienced, skilled, and passionate law firm to help you seek the justice you deserve.