Can you sue a nursing home for bed sores?

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We trust that our loved ones are well cared for when they must call a nursing home, home. But that is not always the case.

Too often, bedsores happen to a family member because of severe neglect. It is traumatic for the entire family, and the last thing they think about is pursuing a court claim. But, contacting Philadelphia nursing home attorneys is the best way to seek compensation, but importantly, justice.

What are bedsores?

Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers, are skin lesions that develop on the body when there is prolonged pressure in one area. The wounds cause damage to more than the top layer of skin. They cause damage to the underlying tissue, too. 

Bedsores do not take very long to develop. Older people with decreased motility and confined to a bed are the people most at risk for developing them. 

The Different Grades of Bedsores

Medical professionals diagnose bedsores in grades. They range from grade 1 to grade IV. It does not mean that grade 1 is okay, but bedsores are never okay, especially when due to negligence.

Grade I is the mildest stage and only affects the first layer of the skin. Ideally, this grade is caught in time to keep them from progressing. However, that is not always the case. Grade I bedsores present as pain, or itching and feel differently than the skin around it. It takes 2 to 3 days for these to heal.

Grade II, or stage 2, bedsores burrow deeper below the surface of the skin. The skin breaks and leaves an open wound. It also looks like a pus-filled blister that might ooze fluids. The area becomes swollen and turns red. Grade II bedsores take 3 days to 3 weeks to heal. It takes constant care and treatment to keep them from getting infected or from getting worse.

Grade III bedsores are a serious health problem. The wounds at this grade go through the second layer of skin and into the fat tissue. They look like a crater and often have a sour smell.  Grade III bedsores have serious symptoms that are not only hard to ignore but are fatal if they are. The patient will require antibiotics and might require surgery to remove dead skin. The serious wounds take a month to four months to heal.

Grade IV bedsores are the worst stage. They affect muscles and ligaments. It is nearly impossible to miss these wounds, and they can lead to death. The wounds crater so deeply that tendons, bone, and muscle might be visible. Grade IV bedsores will likely require surgery, and they take 3 months to several years to heal.

Breaking Down Complications of Bedsores

Any grade of bedsores can be difficult to treat. They can also lead to major complications. Elbows, heels, and the back of the head are the areas most at risk for them. 

However, any part of the body is in danger and can lead to tissue dying. If bedsores are not treated, it can lead to bacteria entering the bloodstream, tissue inflammation, infections that go to the bone, abscesses, and even cancer.

The fact is, most cases of bedsores are entirely avoidable.  Nursing homes, hospitals, and caretakers can take precautions to prevent these wounds. One of the best ways to avoid bedsores is to reposition the patient, regularly. 

Special devices exist to help support patients in their beds and avoid bedsores, too. The recommended repositioning is every 2 hours. Many patients need assistance in doing it.

Good hygiene and skincare can help in preventing bedsores. Part of the skincare is checking for any warning signs and using moisturizers to prevent skin dryness. 

Bedsores and Your Rights

Nursing homes face personal injury claims every day because of their negligence that leads to bedsores. The reason for this is because bedsores are mostly avoidable. Quality care prevents them from happening in the first place. Bedsores are a serious wound that can lead to infection, further injury, and even death.

Patients and their families can file suit against a nursing home for abuse when bedsore damage happens.

It is up to doctors and nurses to deliver quality care. When they fail to provide certain standards of care, they become responsible for the outcome. Failing to turn a patient frequently and not providing proper hygiene is the definition of malpractice. Even further, if a physician or nursing home fails to diagnose bedsores in a timely matter, fails to admit the patient for bedsores, and failure to provide treatment they can face a medical malpractice suit.

You have a right to seek compensation in the event of loved ones getting bedsores. It is not about the money, rather, it is about bringing justice to those that committed medical malpractice, and alerting other families of the danger in that nursing home. Know your rights and contact an attorney so it does not happen to another family.