Bed sores, or pressure ulcers, are skin lesions that can occur when a patient is immobile or bedridden. They can be caused by friction, humidity, temperature, continence, medication, age, and unrelieved pressure. While any part of the body can get bed sores, bony areas such as the elbows, knees, ankles and sacrum are most commonly affected.
Although bed sores are treatable if discovered early, they can be fatal if left untreated. Moreover, data shows that bed sores – even if treated – can increase risk of hospitalization and premature death. According to a 2012 study, elderly persons who developed bed sores were more likely to die during their hospital stay, to have longer stays in the hospital, and to be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of their discharge.
The study tracked more than 51,000 randomly selected Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized across the United States in 2006 and 2007. As a result of the findings, researchers are calling on doctors, hospitals, and nursing homes to do their part to not only treat, but to prevent, bed sores.
“Hospital-acquired pressure ulcers were shown to be an important risk factor associated with mortality,” said Dr. Courtney Lyder, lead investigator on the study and dean of the UCLA School of Nursing. “It is incumbent upon hospitals to identify individuals at high risk for these ulcers and implement preventive interventions immediately upon admission.”
Bed Sores as a Sign of Nursing Home Negligence or Medical Malpractice
Bed sores are one of the most common signs of nursing home negligence. In fact, one in 10 nursing home residents suffers from a bed sore, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Nursing home residents are especially at risk for bed sores due to the amount of time that they may spend confined to a bed or wheelchair.
Bed sores can also be a sign of medical malpractice for patients who are hospitalized and immobile. Doctors and medical staff can help ward off bed sores by developing a prevention plan that includes position changes, supportive devices, routine skin inspections, and a healthy diet.
Contact an Illinois Medical Negligence Lawyer
Because bed sores often involve substandard medical care, if you or a loved one has untreated bed sores, you should consider seeing a medical malpractice lawyer. At Cogan & Power, P.C., we focus on representing clients in medical malpractice cases throughout Illinois. If you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home negligence or medical malpractice, contact our office at (312) 477-2500 to schedule a free consultation to discuss a possible medical malpractice claim. If you cannot come to our offices in downtown Chicago, we will come to you. And because we take cases on a contingency basis, you will not pay any fee unless we get you compensation.