Denver Bedsore Attorneys
Stage 3 or 4 Bedsores Are Never Acceptable in a Healthcare Setting
If you have limited mobility, you depend on your medical teams to ensure you do not develop bedsores during treatment or recovery from a serious illness. While some medical malpractice is due to error, pressure ulcers develop because healthcare workers fail to monitor or move patients who are at risk. This neglect is unacceptable.
Bedsores can be difficult to treat and take a long time to resolve. They can lead to much worse conditions, and the development of or worsening of bedsores in a hospital setting can be grounds for a lawsuit. Please call the Denver medical malpractice lawyers at Leventhal & Puga, P.C., at (303) 759-9945 to see if you have a case.
What Are Bedsores?
Bedsores are ulcers that develop on areas of the skin that are under pressure from lying in bed, sitting in a wheelchair, or wearing a cast for a long period of time. Bedsores are also called pressure injuries, pressure sores, pressure ulcers, or decubitus ulcers.
Bedsores develop when blood supply to the skin is cut off for more than two to three hours. When the skin dies, it causes a red, painful area to develop, which eventually turns purple. If treatment doesn’t begin at this stage, the skin can break open and the area can become infected.
An untreated bedsore can deepen from the skin to the muscle and bone. Depending on the severity of the bedsore, the patient’s physical condition, and the presence of other diseases, a bedsore can take days, months, or even years to heal. It may require surgery to help move the healing process along.
Common areas of the body for bedsores to appear include:
- Tailbone or hips
- Heels of the feet
- Shoulder blades
- Back of the head
- Backs and sides of the knees
There are several stages of bedsores. They are:
- Stage 1: Reddened, painful area of the skin, which may be hot or cool, hard or soft to the touch.
- Stage 2: Blisters or an open sore on the skin, with redness and irritation surrounding it.
- Stage 3: A crater develops, allowing you to see the body fat beneath the skin. The injury has moved past the skin.
- Stage 4: The crater deepens and spreads, damaging some or all of the muscle, bone, tendons, and joints underneath.
- Unstageable: When the sore is covered in dead skin, and it is impossible to tell how deep the wound goes.
Because bedsores should never reach stage 3, 4, or be unstageable while a patient is under professional care, they are rightfully considered never events – and some of the most common ones that we at Leventhal & Puga, P.C., see.
Physicians’ Responsibility for Bedsores
The development of bedsores is often an indicator of the quality of care a patient is receiving. Doctors and their teams are responsible for turning bedridden patients, ensuring that patients are positioned correctly, providing soft padding in wheelchairs and beds, and ensuring that patients are given good nutrition and skin care. Hospital staff should also be aware of people who are more susceptible to bedsores, such as people with diabetes, circulation problems, or poor nutrition, and monitor them closely.
Specifically, a patient’s skin should be inspected for areas of redness every day, with particular attention paid to bony areas. Bedridden patients should be turned and repositioned every two hours, while wheelchair patients should sit upright and straight, changing position every 15 minutes (Hopkins Medicine).
Take Legal Action for Bedsore Medical Malpractice
Bedsores are almost always preventable, and when they do occur, they should be caught early and treated immediately. When medical staff allow bedsores to become a serious medical issue, they may be considered negligent in a court of law.
A knowledgeable and experienced attorney can do the research to collect medical documentation and expert opinions to prove malpractice occurred and ensure the responsible parties are held accountable. You deserve compensation for the additional medical bills and suffering that bedsores caused you.
Under Colorado law, a medical malpractice claim must be filed within three years of the date of the alleged malpractice, though there are certain exceptions. But the sooner you take action, the better. If you believe that you or a loved one may have developed bedsores to due poor care in a Denver-area hospital, please call Leventhal & Puga, P.C. at (303) 759-9945 for a no-cost initial consultation.