Every year, millions of people suffer from pressure ulcers, commonly referred to as bed sores or pressure sores. These injuries range in severity from small areas of discolored skin to larger, open wounds that wind up exposing the underlying muscle and bone and become infected. Bed sores are a serious medical condition that can result in death.
Bed sores are typically caused by an area of a person’s skin being placed under constant pressure for an extended period of time. This causes a lack of proper blood flow to the area and ultimately tissue death. Bed sores are frequently seen in nursing homes and assisted living facilities when the elderly victim is neglected by their caregivers.
If your loved one has suffered from bed sores in a nursing home setting, contact our legal team at Drake & Collopy, P.C., as soon as possible. We provide aggressive representation for nursing home abuse and neglect victims in the Chicago area and throughout Illinois.
The Potentially Deadly Impact of Untreated Pressure Injuries
Bed sores are serious injuries that may cause long-term, lasting damage, and in some cases, death. If the sores are not promptly treated, they can become worse and can get infected. They may require hospitalization for proper medical care. The earlier they are caught, the better the chance of a successful recovery.
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Common Causes of Bed Sores
Many seniors who have limited mobility are at a high risk of developing bed sores. This is because they frequently stay in the same position without help, unable to relieve pressure points when they develop. It is the responsibility of caregivers, like nursing home staff members, to help patients change their position in order to prevent bed sores. Caregivers should also be regularly inspecting the skin for any bed sores that have started to form.
Some of the top causes of bed sores include:
- Forces on healthy skin and the underlying tissue
- Pressure on a bony prominence
- Moisture on the skin that is caused by urine, sweat, or incontinence
- Friction that occurs between the impacted parts of the body and a solid surface
- Reduced sensory perception of certain parts of the body
- No blood supply to the affected area
While bed sores can occur in anyone, they are more common in certain groups of people, including:
- Individuals who have limited mobility
- People who reside in long-term care facilities or nursing homes
- Seniors who deal with anemia or poor nutrition
It is essential that a caregiver treats and cares for any bed sores that develop to ensure that no life-threatening infection or other complications occur. If proper treatment is not provided in a timely manner, it may lead to serious infections, osteomyelitis, sepsis, and even death.
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Common Areas Where Pressure Ulcers Are Likely to Develop
Bed sores can develop on any part of the body. However, the areas most commonly affected by bed sores include:
- Shoulder blades
- Sitz bones
Patients who are paralyzed or who have other types of sensory impairments are most at risk for developing bed sores. Many times, these individuals are unable to let caregivers know if a pressure ulcer begins to form.
Because of the well known risks of bed sores in immobile patients, it is imperative that caregivers keep a close watch for signs of these injuries. These signs include changes in the look or feel of the skin, numbness, bruising, and other skin damage that may indicate the presence of a pressure ulcer.
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Your Legal Rights in Cases of Pressure Ulcers and Bed Sores
If your loved one has developed bed sores while in the care of a nursing home or long-term care facility, they may be entitled to receive compensation for several types of damages, including:
- All related medical bills including hospital, therapy, and rehabilitation expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Damages for wrongful death, if death occurred
Do Not Hesitate to Take Action
If you believe your family member has developed bed sores while in the care of a nursing home or long-term care facility, it is important to take action right away. The first step is to ensure (as best you can) that your loved one receives the necessary medical care to treat the bed sores. This may require transferring them to a hospital.
The next step is to contact us to discuss your situation. Our experienced attorneys are ready to help. Our team will investigate the situation right away to gather evidence and determine whether legal action can be pursued. We will advocate for your loved one to ensure those who are responsible are held accountable and to help your loved one recover the compensation they are entitled to.