Bed & Pressure Sores
The term “bedsore” may sound relatively harmless, but bedsores are a very serious problem for nursing home patients, with often disastrous consequences. Nearly one million disabled individuals of all ages suffer from bedsores every year, and roughly 75% of these individuals are 70 years old or older. Each year, nearly 60,000 people die from bedsores due to either complications or infections that develop from the treatment or existence of a bedsore.
Shelton Walkley Mackey has extensive experience representing nursing home patients and their families in Oklahoma City and the surrounding communities who have suffered from nursing home abuse or neglect, including neglect that results in bedsores.What is a Bedsore?
A bedsore is a sore that develops from being in a stationary position—usually lying in a bed—for a prolonged period. Bedsores are also referred to as pressure ulcers or decubitis ulcers, and they can be suffered not only by those confined to beds, but also those who spend prolonged periods in wheelchairs.
Essentially, a bedsore comes about when the weight of an individual—typically in key pressure points that bear the brunt of a person’s weight, such as elbows, heels, shoulders, hips, and the back of the skull when lying in a supine (facing up) position—presses down upon a surface, causing restricted blood flow in these areas. Any individual who is unable or unwilling to move himself periodically and regularly into different positions—such as sitting up, or turning over in bed—is at risk of developing bedsores.
The medical profession has broken bedsore injuries into four basic stages of severity, and they all require immediate medical attention:
- At stage 1, the skin becomes red;
- At stage 2, the skin loses some of its thickness, and the area may be indented and look as if it has a blister or skin abrasion;
- At stage 3, the skin becomes very thin, and the sore looks like a deep crater;
- At stage 4, the skin may be so thin that the sore may be an open wound exposing muscle or bone, emit an unpleasant odor, or discharge pus; stage 4 ulcers are highly painful, and leave the patient susceptible to serious infections such as gangrene, osteomyelosis, and sepsis; treatment may require amputation.
Unfortunately, a study from the Center for Disease Control has concluded that nearly 11% of all nursing home patients suffer from bedsores every year. For these elderly patients, who often suffer from a variety of other health issues, bedsores can result in very serious or even fatal conditions, particularly if they reach a severe stage or are left untreated.
If You Know a Resident of a Nursing Home Who Has Suffered from Bedsores, Contact Shelton Walkley Mackey
Because bedsores are such a serious and common issue facing nursing home residents, a responsible nursing home should provide sufficient monitoring and staffing to make sure that limited mobility residents can be physically repositioned for the specific purpose of making sure that bedsores do not develop. Sadly, however, bedsores occur with alarming frequency in nursing home patients: almost one in four nursing home residents will suffer from a bedsore at some point. Bedsores cause tremendous pain, and result in significant costs, as well; treating a single bedsore injury may cost up to $14,000 or more, particularly if it leads to additional medical complications.
In the vast majority of cases, bedsores are entirely preventable. In fact, finding a bedsore in a nursing home patient is almost always the result of medical neglect, which may expose the facility to legal liability. Essentially, nursing homes have a duty to provide their residents with an appropriate level of care, including physically repositioning patients who have limited mobility. When they breach this duty and the breach leads to injury, the nursing home may be liable in negligence to the injured patient for medical costs, pain and suffering, permanent injury, emotional suffering, and other appropriate damages.
If you or someone you care about is an Oklahoma nursing home resident who has suffered a personal injury from bedsores, contact the experienced and knowledgeable Oklahoma City nursing home injury attorneys at Shelton Walkley Mackey for a case evaluation. Your consultation is completely free, and there is no obligation to contract with our firm even if we offer to take your case.
Our experienced staff is prepared to listen to your story and to provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision about how you want to proceed. Contact Shelton Walkley Mackey in our Oklahoma City office at (405) 605 -8800, or use the online contact form on this website.