A bed sore is a soft tissue injury that typically occurs when pressure created by a bone in the body and a surface outside the body compress the skin and tissue in between. The pressure causes the skin to break down and an ulcer or wound can develop. While some bed sores are unavoidable, they are commonly the result of neglect. Studies suggest that as many as 50% of bed sores are avoidable.
Bed sores, which are also known as pressure sores, pressure ulcers, and decubitus ulcers, usually occur when a person is inactive, such as during a hospital or nursing home stay. If a patient is unable to get out of bed and increase circulation and is not routinely repositioned or turned by medical staff, then bones that protrude from the skeleton may place too much pressure on the skin in areas like the spine, sacrum, hips and heels (the parts of the body that transfer weight to a wheelchair or bed). Other common areas where bed sores may occur include the scrotum, the back of the head, and the elbows. If left untreated, bed sores can cause sepsis and result in death.
Bed sores are staged by severity:
- Stage One: Skin is discolored, blistered or red (lasting more than 30 minutes), but is not broken.
- Stage Two: Top layer of skin is cracked or broken, accompanied by a shallow ulcer that may drain fluid.
- Stage Three: Top two layers of skin are cracked or broken, with an ulcer that extends into the subcutaneous fat and tissue with fluid drainage.
- Stage Four: Deep ulcer extending into the muscle or to the bone, accompanied by dead tissue.
Common risk factors for bed sores include:
- immobility (confinement to bed or wheelchair);
- loss of bladder and bowel control;
- advanced age;
- compromised vascular system.
Generally, preventing bed sores is easy. Steps to prevent pressure ulcers include: avoiding too much pressure on bony body body parts, keeping the skin dry, proper hygiene and good nutrition. In more advanced cases, antibiotics and surgical debridement may be necessary.
The trial lawyers at Bottar Leone, PLLC, have decades of experience investigating, prosecuting and trying to verdict medical malpractice cases due to or arising out of bed sores. If you or a loved one develop a bed sore during a hospital or nursing home stay, you and your family may be entitled to compensation for lifelong health care, medical expenses, medical bills, loss of income, and pain and suffering.
To discuss your case or concerns with an experienced Central New York medical malpractice and birth injury attorney, contact us now
at (315) 422-3466, (800) 336-LAWS, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.