Millions of people develop bedsores every year, and tens of thousands of these patients die from complications of these pressure ulcers. But fatal late stage bedsores are never supposed to happen in the healthcare setting. This is why more than 17,000 bed sore lawsuits are filed each year.
Causes of Bedsores
Bedsores, also called pressure ulcers, occur when the blood supply that feeds the skin is restricted, most often due to direct pressure. These types of wounds typically occur in elderly patients and patients with limited mobility. But patients being treated for cancer, those with poor circulation, lung conditions, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and those who have suffered a stroke are also more likely to develop bedsores.
Patients who lay or sit in the same position for extended periods of time have a particular risk of developing pressure ulcers as being immobile can lead to skin abrasions which can cause the skin to break and crack. Patients with low mobility who become dehydrated or malnourished have a high risk of bedsores because they lack the nutrients the skin needs to stay strong and healthy.
Likewise, patients who have paralysis or neurological issues that cause an impaired sense of feeling also have a high risk for bedsores. When patients can’t feel the pain of early-stage bedsores, they have a higher risk of late-stage bedsores and deep infection. These patients require vigilant care and constant monitoring for skin breakdown.
Prevention of Bedsores
Early stage bedsores are common in elderly and limited mobility patients because the health of the skin depends on the patient’s overall health. However, medical professionals have established guidelines that define how bedsores are to be prevented, diagnosed, and treated, and those guidelines must be closely followed to prevent the bedsore wounds from burrowing deep into the body.
Some of the rules included in those guidelines include:
- Monitoring for tissue breakdown regularly
- Repositioning patients every two hours or more or less depending on the patient’s specific needs
- Keeping patients clean and dry to reduce the skin irritation that could lead to bedsores
- Maintaining adequate staffing to ensure patients receive the care they require
- Ensuring caregivers are adequately trained and understand the bedsore guidelines.
The fact is, late-stage bedsores are never-events, which means they should never occur in a healthcare setting, whether the patient is being cared for at home, in a nursing home or rehabilitation center, or in a hospital.
Patients have a right to expect quality healthcare. When patients develop late-stage bedsores, they have a right to seek justice and compensation for their injuries and to hold their health care providers accountable for the medical negligence that led to them suffering deep, painful, debilitating, and completely preventable bedsores. Patients and their families can speak to a qualified bedsore attorney to learn more about the neglect and negligence that leads to late-stage bedsores and how they can protect themselves and their loved ones from suffering these types of never-events. But bear in mind, you will need a skilled and experienced lawyer to hold a medical facility liable successfully.