Bed sores, which are also called “decubitus ulcers,” “pressure ulcers,” or “pressure sores,” are some of the most prevalent injuries which may be caused by negligent nursing homes. Though bed sores usually start out small, they can rapidly develop into debilitating, agonizing, and potentially life-threatening ulcers if left untreated. With proper care of residents, bed sores are avoidable in most patients. If your elderly family member or loved one has developed a bed sore while staying at a nursing home, it is possible that negligence or abuse is to blame.
If your family member suffered a bed sore injury after being admitted to a nursing home or other long-term care facility, it is urgent that you speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. If your loved one was neglected, he or she may be entitled to financial compensation for his or her injuries, including compensation for pain and suffering, medical bills, and other harms and losses.
Get trustworthy and personalized legal help from a team of aggressive nursing home bed sore attorneys. Contact Brent Wieand to talk about your family’s legal options in a free, confidential, and no-obligation consultation.
What Causes Pressure (Decubitus) Ulcers?
This is always difficult for concerned relatives to hear, but in most cases, bed sores are indicative of ongoing neglect at a nursing home. That is because bed sores, unlike deteriorating vision or impaired hearing, can usually be prevented or treated if proper medical care is provided. If your family member has developed or is developing a bed sore, the neglectful care or an understaffed nursing home may be the cause. To understand the link between pressure ulcers and nursing home neglect, you need to understand how and why bed sores occur.
If a nursing home resident is bed-bound or immobile, certain areas of his or her body are in constant contact with a surface, often a mattress, wheelchair or shoe. The pressure applied by the surface reduces blood flow to that region of the body, which is why bed sores are also called “pressure sores.”
The problem is that skin, like any other organ, requires a steady blood supply to stay healthy and function normally. If circulation to an area of the body is constantly disrupted, the area will eventually begin to swell, rupture, blister, and ooze. At first, only the skin is affected; but if left untreated, the bed sore can progress to deeper layers of tissue, which creates a real and serious risk of death.
Under normal circumstances, bed sores can be easily prevented simply by turning and repositioning bed-bound residents at regular intervals, which alleviates pressure before a problem develops. If a patient develops pressure sores, it may means that nursing home staff are continually neglecting to perform this essential task. Such failure may be the result of understaffing, inexperience, neglect, or outright abuse.
Further, if a nursing home resident is at high risk for developing pressure ulcers, precautions should be taken to reduce the risk. This may include prevention methods such as heel protectors which can reduce pressure on the bony area of the ankle, which is prone to developing pressure ulcers. If a nursing home doesn’t identify residents at risk for pressure sores and take necessary precautions it can be held liable for medical negligence.
One of the most common questions clients ask is, “How long does it take to get bed sores?” While the timeline can vary from patient to patient, bed sores typically develop within several days to weeks.
Pressure ulcers most commonly occur on bony areas, such as the ankles, hips, knees, and elbows. They can also develop on fleshy areas of the body, such as the upper back, backs of the legs, or buttocks.
Can You Sue a Nursing Home for Bed Sores?
If your loved one suffered from bed sore injuries at a nursing home anywhere in the United States, he or she may have what is called a “cause of action,” meaning there may be legal justification for filing a lawsuit or bringing a claim against the nursing home where the injury occurred. If the bed sore was caused by nursing home abuse or nursing home neglect, the negligent parties may be held liable for the resulting physical, emotional, and financial injuries to the victim.
This includes not only those expenses and losses the victim has already sustained, but also compensation for the harm the victim is expected to sustain in the future due to the pressure sore injury. For example, it may be possible for a nursing home pressure sore victim to be awarded compensation after going to trial, or to reach a settlement agreement outside of court, that includes compensation for future medical care, such as a surgery the patient will need to remove or alleviate the sore.
Compensation for harm in a personal injury lawsuit or wrongful death lawsuit is called “damages.” For example, a jury can award damages to a personal injury plaintiff who prevails in court. Every state has different laws regarding damages in personal injury cases, so it is critical to speak with an attorney who understands the laws that apply in your state. With that in mind, a victim may be able to recover:
- Economic Damages Economic damages compensate bills and financial losses, such as hospital bills, funeral expenses, or the cost of changing nursing homes.
- Non-Economic Damages Non-economic damages try to reasonably compensate physical and emotional pain, such as pain and suffering, scarring and disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life.
- Punitive Damages Unlike economic and non-economic damages, punitive damages are meant not simply to compensate the victim, but to actually punish the defendant.
Nursing Home Bed Sore Lawyers for Injury Victims
Our nursing home injury attorneys have extensive experience handling personal injury and wrongful death claims arising from severe pressure sore injuries. We understand precisely how and why these injuries develop, and know the debilitating effects they can have on the victim. We are familiar with the painful, potentially lethal complications of pressure ulcer injuries, and are familiar with the enormous medical expenses associated with treatment of decubitus ulcers. In short, we understand the tremendous pain, fear, stress, and expense that pressure sores cause, which is why we fight aggressively on behalf of their victims.
When you need a skilled and compassionate nursing home injury lawyer, and aren’t sure where to turn for help, Brent Wieand will be there to answer your questions, pursue compensation, and demand justice for your family member. To set up a free and confidential legal consultation regarding a nursing home resident’s bed sore injury, contact our law offices today.