Do You Have Bed Sores From Caregiver Malpractice?
Bed sores, sometimes also referred to as pressure ulcers or pressure sores, develop when the body remains in the same position for an extended period of time. This causes the weight of the body to place pressure on the area, forcing the blood out long enough to cause the tissues to become deprived of the blood supply leading to damage to the tissue and skin. When this tissue dies, treatment for the bed sores may require surgery in order to repair the damage, and in some cases amputations must be performed.
Patients who are debilitated and are not able to move themselves must be cared for by a trained medical professional so that they are moved into different positions to prevent bed sores. This is true for people sitting, those in wheel chairs, and those who are bedridden.
The most common causes of bed sores are as follows:
Friction: When a patient in a nursing home or hospital is lifted, turned, or pushed upward when raising a bed too quickly, damage can occur to the skin with makes it more susceptible to developing bed sores.
Dampness: Perspiration and moisture due to incontinence can cause the skin to become soft which makes it more susceptible to developing bed sores. For patients who are incontinent, the urine or bowel movements can also contribute to infections.
Shear: When a patient slides downward in a chair or in bed, if the patient is lifted incorrectly or is positioned incorrectly in bed, the skin may move in a direction that goes against the direction the bones move in. This is known as shear. When this occurs, the blood vessels and the skin cells become damage which makes patients more prone to developing bed sores.
Portions of the body that are the most prone to developing bed sores include: the buttocks, the tail bone area, hips, ankles, elbows, heels, shoulder blades, and the spine.
Unfortunately, bed sores are often the result of hospital malpractice, nursing home negligence, or nurse/caregiver malpractice. In order to prove the bed sores are a result of malpractice, you will have to be able to prove negligence and bring forth a lawsuit to recoup compensation for the damages.
Medical negligence is defined as an act or omission by a doctor, medical professional, nurse, hospital, or facility that provides care that deviates from the standards of practice that are known and accepted within the medical community, resulting in patient harm. When this happens, a personal injury attorney can help you file a claim to hold all parties responsible for the harm accountable for their actions.
Filing a lawsuit is the only way to obtain monetary damages for people who have suffered with bed sores due to negligence or malpractice. Awards can be provided for medical expenses (past, present, and future), a loss of income, pain and suffering, emotional distress, cost of care, and various other expenses and losses.
Bed sores, or pressure ulcers, can cause complications that can be quite serious; the more severe the complications, the higher the amount that can be recovered in damages. Some of the most common complications from bed sores include:
Cellulitis: Cellulitis is an infection of the connective tissue of the skin. This condition can lead to serious side effects such as meningitis and sepsis.
Meningitis: Meningitis is one of the most serious complications that arise from bed sores. This is a type of infection that affects the meninges, which are the membranes that surround the spinal cord and the brain, as well as the associated fluids.
Sepsis: Another very serious complication of bed sores is sepsis. This is an infection of the blood that is spread throughout the entire body. This condition can lead to organ failure, shock, and even death.
Septic or Infectious Arthritis: This is an infection of the joints. This type of infection can cause severe damage to the tissues and cartilage.
Osteomyelitis: This is an infection of the bones. Osteomyelitis occurs when the infection becomes so severe it passes deep into the bones of the body.
Amputation: When bed sores are left untreated, the flesh that has died may need to be removed. In some cases, so much tissue has to be removed resulting in amputations.
When you make the difficult decision to place a loved one in a care facility of any kind for any reason, you trust that that person will be cared for properly and that no harm will be done. When harm is done, the duty of care that was promised has been violated and action must be taken in order to bring those responsible to justice.
It is in your best interest to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible when you decide to pursue a bed sore lawsuit. Statutes of limitations can vary a great deal from state to state and not seeking professional help can be a costly mistake. A personal injury attorney is quite skilled in this area of the law, and will handle every aspect of your case from start to finish. He or she will ensure that all deadlines are met, and that all necessary information is filed in a timely manner. Your attorney will also collect medical records, witness statements, patient statements, and arrange for expert testimony if necessary. You can rest assured that your best interest is put first when you hire a skilled attorney.
Best of all, most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, which means that you do not have to worry about paying any money upfront, or as your case progresses through the legal system. You will not have to pay anything until the time your case settles.
Taking legal action to hold those accountable for bed sore injuries is a very important decision to make. Not only will taking this step help to protect your future, and the future of your loved one, it will also help to prevent other innocent victims from having to suffer the same consequences in the future.