What Are Bedsores?
Bedsores acquired in a hospital or nursing home are also called “decubitus ulcers” or “pressure sores.” These sores are caused by prolonged pressure on any area of the body that comes into continuous contact with the bed or other object, and commonly develop in the parts of the body such as the buttocks, the lower back area, the heels, elbows and shoulders. When people are elderly, injured or disabled, they are unable to move and change positions, making them susceptible to developing bedsores when confined to a hospital or nursing home facility. These people require the care of others to prevent the development of bedsores. When hospitals and nursing homes do not provide the proper level of care to either avoid the development of bedsores or to diagnose and treat them in a timely manner, this may constitute malpractice.
The constant pressure between the surface of the bed or the seat that come into contact with the body can lead to infection, open sores, soft tissue injuries and permanent muscle damage, and in severe cases, bedsores can even be fatal.
Most Bedsores Are Preventable
Even if bedsores do develop, with the proper care they can be prevented from getting worse. Bedsores are “staged,” or classified, starting with stage 1, 2, 3 with the worst being stage 4. What often happens is a bedsore will develop and be at stage 1, and then progress through the levels 2 and 3 until stage 4 where it actually develops into a sore that goes down to the bone. Obviously, the worse the bedsore becomes the more difficult it is to treat and the longer it takes to heal. So that avoiding the development and the prevention of any bedsores is the most desirable result. If a bedsore does develop, then preventing a stage 1 from deteriorating and becoming a stage 2, 3 or 4 is required.
Bedsores in most instances can be avoided with proper care. Patients confined to a bed need to be turned and their position changed every 2 hours so as to take the pressure off of the body part(s) that comes into contact with the mattress. The body parts should also be massaged and have lotions applied to them on a regular basis. There are beds that have special mattresses that relieve the pressure on the body parts and avoid the development of bedsores.
Bedsores often can and should be prevented with proper care, which starts with and requires a sufficient and attentive staff. Once a patient is identified to be at risk for bedsores as a result of being confined to a bed, then that patient needs to be provided with a special bed and needs to be turned and repositioned on a regular schedule.
Unfortunately, health care facilities — whether hospitals or nursing homes — struggle with staffing and funding challenges that have a direct impact on the health and safety of their patients or residents. In addition, unfortunately, it is not uncommon for staff members to become complacent in their duties and to not take the time or make the effort to provide the level of care needed to avoid and treat bedsores.
The attorneys at Jaroslawicz & Jaros have successfully handled numerous cases involving both the proper care as well as the avoidance of bedsores for many years. Since there are special rules and laws that apply to hospitals and nursing homes, specifically with regard to bedsores, it is important to speak to an attorney with experience in this area of law.
Over 30 years ago, our firm represented a young man who was paralyzed as a result of a serious car accident. When the family called our firm to complain that the young man was unable to move and was developing bedsores, our attorneys called and wrote the hospital requesting that he be provided with the special bed and care that he needed. When the hospital failed to provide the care he required and the bedsores became worse, our firm filed a suit against the hospital and recovered $250,000 for that young man. Since then the attorneys at the firm of Jaroslawicz & Jaros have been very aware of the dangers of bedsores and the suffering that they needlessly cause to persons who are either elderly or injured, and have successfully brought many cases on their behalf.
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The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to handle your case, we will work on a contingency fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary recovery of funds. In many cases, a lawsuit must be filed before an applicable expiration date, known as a statute of limitations. Please call to ensure that you do not waive your right to compensation. Or you can email Abraham Jaros directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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