Pressure sores, otherwise known as bedsores, are one of the most common injuries suffered by residents of nursing homes. Pressure sores are a largely preventable injury that can grow into a full-fledged infection without proper medical care. Worst comes to worst, the resident can die from sepsis resulting from the infection. Pressure sores are perhaps the most prevalent injury that forms the basis of a lawsuit against a nursing home. Oftentimes, the fact patterns involved in a successful bedsores lawsuit are on the more egregious side, with evidence of neglect of the nursing home resident.
If your loved one has suffered from pressure sores and has sustained an injury as a result, you should obtain legal representation in order to hold the nursing home accountable. Legal counsel can help you prove that bedsore resulted from the inattention of either the nursing care or the medical care at the facility where your loved one resides.
What Causes Pressure Sores To Form?
When there is no relieving pressure from a bed or wheelchair, circulation can be cut off to the underlying skin. This can ultimately cause the tissue to die from a lack of oxygen. This type of injury creates a pressure sore, which can progress into an open wound susceptible to infection and resulting in septic shock, gangrene, and even death.
In most cases, they can develop on an immobilized person’s buttocks, hips, heels, ankles, or elbows. Nursing homes are often found guilty of neglect for these injuries, or for abuse. These are some of the behaviors that can lead to a suit:
- Allowing a resident to sit or lie in the same position for long periods of time
- Letting a resident become malnourished or dehydrated
- Not changing soiled diapers or sheets. This keeps moisture next to the skin and contributes to the breakdown of the skin
- Not to properly assessing and monitoring a resident for any signs of developing bedsores
- Delaying in notifying the resident’s family and doctor if bedsores develop
The 4 Stages of Pressure Sores
Pressure sores are characterized in four stages:
Stage One Pressure Sores
The sores have developed but are not yet open wounds. Though an individual may feel pain, there are typically no breaks or tears in the reddened skin. A sign of further pressure sore development can be an increase in skin temperature as well as feeling the affected area softer or firmer.
Stage Two Pressure Sores
This stage is when the skin around the sores breaks open to form a painful ulcer. At this stage, the sore deepens into the skin and can look like a scrape, blister, or crater. At this stage it is likely for the skin to have no further repair or even to die.
Stage Three Pressure Sores
In this stage, the sore gets worse as it moves into the soft tissue underneath the skin forming a small crater.
Stage Four Pressure Sores
Stage four is the most serious one. This is when a pressure sore is so deep that it reaches into muscle and bone, causing irreversible harm. In most cases, the person may not even feel the pain because the tissue in an area has been so badly damaged.
Holding Caregivers Accountable for Pressure Sores
With proper caregiving, pressure sores should ideally never develop and should never progress to stage 3 or greater. Seniors should be rotated or helped to move frequently by nursing home staff or other caregivers to avoid staying in the same place for too long. Special pressure-reducing furniture and equipment are often used as well to try to fight the development of pressure sores.
Once these sores begin to form, nursing home staff or caregivers should seek prompt medical attention for a senior to stop the progression of the bedsores. A failure to either prevent bedsores or secure medical aid can be clear signs of negligence that could result in civil liability. Cogburn Law should be consulted for help in pursuing a civil action for damages resulting from a caregiver and nursing home’s lapse of reasonable care that caused the advanced pressure sores to develop.
Filing A Claim Over Pressure Sore Injuries
Once a pressure sore injury occurs due to negligence on the part of the skilled nursing facility, the patient or their family should take immediate action. In the event of pressure sores, families should take pictures of the wound and insist that the facility also take photos so a record exists. Many nursing homes try to hide these injuries by not documenting them.
The deadline to file a claim varies from one to two years but is typically limited to one year after an injury is discovered. If your loved one dies as a result of negligence by the facility or its staff members, families can still take legal action. Medical records must be kept for seven years, and your attorney can obtain them through a court order.
Contact An Attorney In Las Vegas
If you or someone close to you has developed pressure sores in a Las Vegas nursing home, contact Cogburn Law today at (702) 748-7777 to schedule a free consultation.