Bedsore Injury Attorneys in Baltimore
Standing Up for Victims of Nursing Home Neglect Throughout Maryland
Bedsores are a common issue that can arise from nursing home neglect. Patients who are paralyzed, in a coma, or who otherwise require long periods of bed rest must be continually repositioned and cleaned by their caregivers to prevent the development of sores. People who use a wheelchair are at risk for pressure sore development as well.
When nursing home staff fail to follow the proper measures to prevent the development of bedsores in patients, the injuries can evolve into infections or exposed tissue wounds in which surgery may be required for treatment. In extreme cases, bedsores can even be fatal.
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What Are Bedsores?
Bedsores – also known as “pressure ulcers” – are caused by long-term pressure on the body, which can create sore spots and tears in the skin. These wounds most commonly develop on the hips, back, and other areas that are subjected to pressure when sitting or lying down for a long time. The elderly may also face higher risks of bedsores than other groups, due to fragile skin and limited mobility.
There are multiple stages of bedsore development, starting at stage one with red and tender skin that can be painful. As the skin continues to rupture, the wounds will begin to appear more like ulcers or blisters, and may even expose tissue, muscle, and bone as they worsen.
Any person with limited mobility has an elevated risk of bedsores. Other risk factors include:
- Mental issues
- Lack of body fat
- Malnutrition and dehydration
- Low immunity
- Low blood flow
- Muscle spasms
There is a reason that among the medical community and independent hospital accreditation groups, experts always refer to bedsores as “never events” or “sentinel events.” Because these injuries are entirely preventable with appropriate care, hospitals and long-term care facilities have a clear responsibility to ensure that theynever happen.
Despite this fact, the National Quality Forum (NQF) estimates that in 2006, pressure ulcers affected over 300,000 nursing home residents and cost Medicare over $13 billion – and those numbers have only continued to increase over the years. When understaffing and negligence lead vulnerable nursing home residents to develop bedsores, the victims and their families could have grounds to pursue a civil lawsuit.
Understanding the Stages of Bedsore Development
As mentioned previously, there are several stages of bedsore development, ranging from Stage 1 to Stage 4. In some cases, a Stage 4 pressure ulcer may become so deep that it is considered “unstageable” and must be cleaned before doctors can even assess its severity.
A brief overview of the bedsore stages:
- Stage 1: At the mildest stage, bedsores only affect the uppermost layer of the skin. The skin can be red, itchy, inflamed, or hot, and it may feel different from other areas on the body (either firmer or softer.)
- Stage 2: When bedsores remain unnoticed and untreated, they dig deeper below the surface of skin, creating an open wound or blister. The area will be swollen and red and possibly oozing clear fluid or pus, and even with immediate treatment, it could take up to 3 weeks to heal.
- Stage 3: At this point, the bedsore has delved into the fat layer beneath the skin tissues, bringing signs of infection such as bad odors and drainage. It will often look like a crater and have red or black edges where the tissue has died. A Stage 3 bedsore typically requires antibiotics and up to 4 months of healing.
- Stage 4: Stage 4 bedsores affect the muscles and ligaments underneath the body’s fat layer and can take over a year to heal after treatment. These wounds will be very deep and show black edges, and you may be able to see muscle or bone. Seek emergency medical attention right away for these injuries.
There is no good excuse for a patient to have bedsores, and that is especially true when it comes to Stage 3 and 4 wounds, which can require extensive surgery and aggressive antibiotics. When you or your loved one has developed a serious bedsore, it’s important to take photographs and videos of the sore as it changes over time. This will help for two reasons: First, it will document the severity of the bedsore injury, and second, it will establish a clear timeframe for your nursing home negligence claim.
Holding Negligent Nursing Home Staff Accountable
Although many conditions related to aging can contribute to bedsores, it is still the responsibility of designated caregivers to do whatever they can to prevent sore development and properly treat any existing wounds. If an elderly person in your life is living in a nursing home and has developed bedsores because of negligent care, our Baltimore bedsore attorneys at Brown & Barron, LLC can help them seek justice.
Combined, our legal team has served as lead counsel for more than 100 jury trials, focusing our practice on cases of severe nursing home abuse and neglect. In the process, we’ve recovered millions for injury victims, including over $55 million in positive outcomes between 2017 and 2019 alone.
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