Bedsores, also known as pressure sores, are injuries that can happen to the skin when someone is bedridden or immobile. There are four stages of pressure ulcers:
- Stage one: The area is typically warm and red. It may be painful or burn or itch, although there is no open sore at this stage.
- Stage two: In this stage, the skin may break open or form a tender and painful sore or blister. The person is usually going to experience significant pain at this stage. The skin at this stage may be irreparably damaged or could die.
- Stage three: In this stage, the bedsore continues to get worse and forms a crater beneath the skin. Fat may be visible in the sore, although not bone, tendons, or deeper tissue.
- Stage four: In this final stage, the bedsore is very deep and could damage the tendons, tissues, and joints. There may be no pain at this point because of the significance of the damage, and the person is at risk for serious infection.
Causes of Bedsores
Bedsores are caused when the blood supply is cut off to the skin for more than two or three hours, damaging the skin and possibly causing it to die. If it is not treated, the skin can break open, and the bedsore can become very deep, causing a potentially life-threatening infection.
Bedsores most commonly occur to the:
- Shoulder blades
- Hips and tailbone
- Back of the head
- Back and sides of the knees
Treatment of Pressure Ulcers (Bedsores)
There are several ways that the nursing home staff could treat bedsores in patients. Pressure ulcer treatment options include:
- Moving the patient to remove pressure from the affected area, allowing blood flow to resume
- Dressing the wound with medicated gauze
- Ensuring the patient receives proper nutrition
- Removing the tissue that has been infected or damaged
- Keeping the wound and surrounding area clean
- Transplanting new, healthy skin to the area with the bedsore
Medical Complications from Bedsores
Bedsores are a preventable injury if a nursing home patient is moved frequently. And because of the pain and discomfort that accompany stage one, they are easy to catch in the early stage before they cause significant damage to the skin.
If they are not prevented and go untreated for too long, they can cause serious and even life-threatening complications, including:
- Cellulitis: This is an infection that occurs to the skin and surrounding soft tissue. The patient may not feel pain from cellulitis if they are suffering from nerve damage because of the severity of the bedsore.
- Sepsis: While this is rare, a particularly severe bedsore can lead to sepsis. This occurs when the infection from the bedsore triggers a chain reaction in the body and can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, or death.
- Bone and joint infections: This occurs when the infection caused by the bedsore damages the cartilage or tissue in the joints or impacts the function of joints or limbs.
Receiving a Financial Award Due to Nursing Home Abuse
If a nursing home resident is suffering, or possibly lost their life, after having to endure any of the stages of bedsores from nursing home abuse, they–or possibly their family–may be entitled to a financial award to recover their losses. Some of the common types of compensation after injuries like these include:
- Medical expenses like ambulance rides, surgical procedures, medication, doctor’s examinations, and treatments
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Out-of-pocket costs
If the nursing home resident perished because of complications related to a bedsore, the family of the victim may be entitled to compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit. Some compensation for a wrongful death lawsuit could include:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Lost wages from time away from work caring for the now deceased
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Medical costs left to the family to cover
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
While rare, in some cases, the court will also award punitive damages. These are intended to punish the defendant for behavior that is particularly egregious and discourage them or others in behaving in such a way again.
If your loved one is hurt and suffering because of any one of the stages of bedsores from nursing home abuse, you may be entitled to compensation for your family’s losses. At Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, we believe your family has suffered enough. It is our goal to make sure you are not further damaged. Our firm works on a contingency fee, and our clients pay nothing upfront or out of pocket. For a free, no-risk review of your case, contact us today at (800) 842-6336.