Those who are bed-ridden for long periods of time are at the mercy of the medical staff. The staff is duty-bound to prevent bed sores as much as possible. Some people are more prone to developing lesions than others, but it can be easy to discern if the sores have worsened due to staff negligence. Patients need to be cared for to mitigate symptoms. A negligent hospital staff that cause extra pain and discomfort are liable for damages.
Bed sores may sound tame, but they are usually not. The average cost to treat pressure-related sores is around $40,000, and complications from bed lesions can actually be fatal if left untreated. Renal failure and amyloidosis are very serious conditions that start from bed sores.
Bed sores occur when the skeleton puts pressure on soft spots in the skin after lying in the same position over long periods of time. The pressure obstructs blood flow to muscle tissue, so the body’s cells wither and die. Wounds form, and they can become infected. Infections spread quickly, especially in cases of serious neglect when the nursing staff fails to move or inspect the patient.
Bed sores are a very serious issue, and they are almost always due to negligence. 95% of pressure-related injuries are preventable. Once bed sores do appear, they must be closely monitored. Failure to effectively treat the sores increases the staff’s liability. This problem is ubiquitous, too; 27,000 people died from bed sores in 2010.
There are four different stages of bed sores. The first two stages are less severe. Patients start with mild irritation which blisters and sometimes forms craters. As the sores enter stage 3, the skin layers begin to die and chafe, leading to open, seeping wounds. Stage 4 turns the sore into a pressure ulcer. The skin has chafed away, leaving underlying muscle tissue completely exposed.
Like any other medical personal injury claim, the plaintiff must establish that the medical staff utterly failed in their duties and were responsible for the bed sores. Bed sores are prevented by frequently moving the patient and careful examination. Getting compensation means proving the facility did not take basic steps to prevent sore formation.
However, people bed-ridden for long enough to develop bed sores frequently suffer from other ailments that conflates with the skin lesions. The plaintiff must prove the hospital staff was responsible for the bed sores, rather than the other health issue.
Extreme negligence and rampant misconduct may result in the court awarding the plaintiff punitive damages. Instead of serving as compensation for treatment and suffering, punitive damages seek to punish the negligent staff.
If your claim is successful, compensation covers several key factors:
It is painful to watch any loved one stuck in a bed for long periods of time, let alone suffer from preventable bed sores. Contact us if you suspect you have a claim, and we can investigate the facts and guide your family through the process.