Knoxville Bedsore & Pressure Ulcer Attorney
Bedsores, also called pressure ulcers, are a common injury in nursing homes. Formed when people are immobile for long periods of time, bedsores cause many complications, including pain. If you or a loved one in a nursing home suffer from bedsores, contact a Knoxville bedsore attorney today to review your case.
How Bedsores Form
The skin is vulnerable to pressure and rubbing, which can interrupt blood flow and cause sores. Generally, bedsores form on those body parts which bear constant pressure.
If someone is bedridden, then they could develop bedsores on their heels, shoulder blades, hips, and tailbone, along with the back of the head. These body parts are constantly resting on the bed and carrying the body’s pressure. When someone is confined to a wheelchair, by contrast, pressure sores are most common on the buttocks and tailbone.
Are Bedsores Serious?
They can be. Any type of skin rupture can lead to bleeding and infection. There is also a risk that an open sore could become cancerous.
Doctors typically classify bedsores by stage:
- Stage 1. The skin is red but not broken. If left untreated, a bedsore will develop within days.
- Stage 2. The skin is broken, and a blister or crater has formed. This is the most common type of bedsore and should heal in three weeks or so if the resident receives immediate treatment.
- Stage 3. This bedsore has a deeper crater which affects underlying fat and tissue. The risk of infection increases. A stage 3 bedsore could take months to heal even with proper treatment.
- Stage 4. A bedsore at this stage usually affects the muscle, bones, and joints. A stage 4 bedsore could lead to amputation.
A nursing home that provides competent care should discover Stage 1 bedsores and immediately arrest any progression. At a minimum, they should identify and treat Stage 2 sores. Only the most negligent nursing home should let pressure ulcers worsen to stage 3 or 4.
How to Prevent Bedsores
Nursing homes can prevent bedsores, but they must be proactive. Typically, they need to shift the resident’s weight regularly—once an hour or so, while the resident is awake. They can accomplish this by moving the person, adjusting the elevation of the bed, or putting cushions under different body parts.
They should also quickly clean up any fluids, like urine, and ensure that a resident is dry before being put back into bed after bathing. Moisture can increase the likelihood of a pressure ulcer forming.
Regular inspection is also key. Bedsores can still form even if a person is moved regularly, and nursing homes should initiate prompt treatment once they uncover a problem.
Legal Compensation for Bedsores
If you or a loved one has a pressure sore, an attorney should investigate. In some cases, nursing home negligence is to blame. For example, staff might have failed to move a resident to prevent sores, or they never inspected a resident. When a resident has multiple pressure sores or at least one serious one, then a nursing home is typically to blame.
Contact Atkins Brezina, PLLC today. We can bring a claim for compensation to cover medical care and compensate for pain and suffering. Our firm can also alert the authorities so they investigate any nursing home which is failing to care for its patients.