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Stage 3 and Stage 4 bedsores affect millions and kill thousands of patients every year. In fact, six patients will develop bedsores every hour of every day and thousands of bed sore lawsuits will be filed this year as victims and families try to enact change and get justice for their suffering.
Stages of Bedsores
Medical professionals stage bedsores, also called decubitus ulcers or pressure ulcers, according to how deep they are. But it is important to understand that no matter what stage of bedsore the patient is suffering, early diagnosis, constant monitoring, and proper treatment are required to prevent the ulcer from getting worse and penetrating deep into the body. Bedsores are extremely painful, so anytime a patient complains about a painful area, their skin should be inspected for early-stage bedsores.
Stage 1 bedsores are common and involve only the uppermost layers of skin. The wound may feel hotter or colder than nearby skin, and if you press on the wound, it does not change color. The wound is extremely painful and may appear red or pink or discolored. If proper treatment is given, stage 1 bedsores can heal in a matter of days.
Stage 2 pressure ulcers have penetrated deeper into the skin and might ooze fluid or pus. The skin around the wound may appear swollen, angry, and red and give off heat. If appropriate treatment is received, the ulcers can heal in days to weeks depending on the health of the patient.
Stage 3 bedsores have penetrated deep into the fatty layer found under the layers of skin. The wound may emit a foul smell, have raised, red edges, and ooze fluid or pus. The tissue surrounding the ulcer may appear to be black and dead. The patient will probably require treatment with antibiotics and the wound may need to be cleaned and cleared by a doctor. Even if proper treatment is given, these bedsores can take weeks to months to resolve.
Stage 4 bedsores have penetrated past the layers of muscle, tendon, and ligament to reach the bone. The wound is foul smelling and draining infection and pus. The area around the wound is black and dead, and the wound itself will be hot with red edges. The patient requires surgical intervention and may battle with pain and infection for months to years, depending on the patient’s constant state of overall health.
These late-stage bedsores are potentially fatal wounds that are painful and debilitating and dangerous. No patient who is cared for by a healthcare professional should ever suffer late-stage bedsores. In fact, hospital facilities consider these ‘never-events’ or events that should never occur in a medical setting.
Bedsores and Negligence
Facilities like hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and nursing homes have a high duty to provide adequate medical care to all patients. When bedsores occur, negligence starts with lack of patient monitoring. Patients who suffer late-stage bedsores and the families of those who have died from these injuries can turn to the legal system to help enact change, hold medical providers accountable for their lack of adequate care, and seek redress for the pain and suffering they had to endure.