Bedsores are painful and distressing. Sadly, this type of injury is entirely preventable and occurs in our most vulnerable populations, including the elderly and patients suffering from medical conditions that keep them bedridden. When a patient develops bed sores, it’s a serious sign of neglect and shouldn’t occur in nursing homes and medical facilities with staff members hired to treat patients with care and compassion to prevent harm.

According to CDC statistics, more than 1 in every 10 residents in nursing homes suffer from bed sores and require special wound care services. Wounds of this type are difficult to heal, prone to infection, and require costly treatments. If you or a loved one have suffered from bed sores, you could recover compensation for the physical and financial costs associated with these preventable injuries.

What Are Bed Sores?

If you aren’t familiar with this type of injury, you may be wondering how such serious wounds can develop on an immobile patient while they’re lying in bed. Bed sores are also called pressure wounds because they develop as a result of prolonged pressure on delicate skin tissue caused by the continuous pressure of a mattress under the weight of the human body. Bed sores may also develop in those confined to wheelchairs. Elderly patients with aging skin are particularly prone to bedsores.

When pressure isn’t periodically relieved by position changes, the compression begins to break down the body tissue and sores develop(stage 1). Once the skin breaks under pressure (stage 2) and an open sore results, the condition quickly worsens into deep, open wounds that are prone to infection (stage 3), especially in medically vulnerable or immunocompromised individuals. In some instances, untreated bedsores may worsen to stage 4— the point of exposing underlying muscle and bone, causing terrible pain.

Understanding Neglect and Bed Sore Prevention

Bedsores develop on the parts of the skin under unrelieved pressure depending on the person’s position in bed, a wheelchair, or while otherwise immobilized. People lying in beds, such as elderly and ailing nursing home patients, may develop bed sores in the following parts of the body:

  • The back
  • Shoulders
  • Buttocks
  • Hips
  • Back of the head
  • Backs of the heels

Wheelchair-confined individuals may develop bed sores on the buttocks, shoulder blades, spine, and the backs of the arms and legs.

Bed sores are entirely preventable. Immobilized patients should be turned and repositioned every two hours to relieve and redistribute pressure. Keeping aging skin clean, dry, and hydrated helps to prevent sores, as does proper nutrition.

How Can I Achieve Justice and Compensation for Bed Sore Suffering?

Stage 4 bedsores are not only painful, but they can also lead to death from bed sore-related complications like infection and sepsis. A personal injury lawyer with years of experience in nursing home neglect cases and bed sore-related injuries can help victims of preventable bed sores to recover compensation for their economic and non-economic damages. Bedsore victims can recover the following damages:

  • Medical costs for bed sore treatment, including for surgery in stage 4 cases
  • Medical expenses for treating complications related to bed sores
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional anguish caused by neglect
  • Scarring and disfigurement from stage 4 bedsores

In those cases of bedsores that lead to death, family members can gain compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit.

Victims or family members can gain compensation in bedsore lawsuits by proving caregiver neglect directly resulted in the development and worsening of bedsores. Neglecting an immobilized patient to the point of bedsore development is a breach of the expected duty of care a nursing home facility or hospital owes its patients.

Attorney Timothy Manchin established the Manchin Injury Law Group in 2011 after his law partner of more than 25 years became a West Virginia circuit court judge. His focus is on helping individual clients and entire families victimized by negligent acts.

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