Having a loved one incapacitated and living in a care facility is a difficult experience. Even in the best facilities, accidents and hazards can occur. Bed sores are a common problem in patients who cannot change position on their own. They must depend on the caregiver staff to ensure that they are moved frequently to prevent this health problem, which can lead to additional medical treatment, pain and even death. Many families file lawsuits because of the injuries sustained by loved ones as a result of insufficient care that leads to bed sores.
What Are Bed Sores and Why Do They Occur?
Decubitus ulcers, commonly called “bed sores” or pressure sores, are areas of damaged skin that can occur on the body where the bones are close to the skin. Common areas where bed sores develop include the back, elbows, hips, heels and ankles. There areas are particularly susceptible to problems because they are most likely to experience pressure when patients are immobile or kept in a fixed position, such as in a wheelchair. The sores can range from discolorations on the skin to open wounds that can take a long time to heal or that may never heal. Bed sores can be very painful and can cause patients to undergo additional procedures that can cause more discomfort and expense. In addition, bed sores can lead to severe infections that can be an underlying cause of the death of the patient. Bed sores are a preventable condition, but many patients in hospitals and nursing homes still acquires these lesions as a result of failure of the staff to change their positions frequently throughout the day.
Are Bed Sores A Cause For A Lawsuit?
When patients develop bed sores, it is a cause for concern in hospitals and nursing homes because it indicates that not enough attention is being given to individuals who cannot move sufficiently on their own. Bed sores are a preventable condition that can be avoided with daily attention to each patient’s needs. When bed sores are not reported or are not correctly diagnosed, they can be grounds for a lawsuit. Failing to admit a patient with bed sores to the hospital, if needed, can be grounds for a suit. If the facility fails to provide appropriate treatment for the problem in any way, it can also be grounds for filing a lawsuit for malpractice or neglect.
Costs of Treating Bed Sores
Patients who develop bed sores may require a variety of treatments to heal the lesions. The severity of the problem is designated by different stages, one through four, and each stage may require a different type of treatment. Debridement, surgery, antibiotics, dressings and the use of special equipment to cushion wounds may be necessary during treatment of the lesions. A 2005 study put the cost of care for bed sores at $2000 to $70,000 per wound. Although wound treatment is generally covered by Medicare, some costs may not be covered. These treatments may also require co-payments and deductibles that cause additional expense to patients and their families.
Evidence You Will Need for a Bed Sore Lawsuit
If you have a loved one in a hospital or nursing home who has developed bed sores, you should carefully document all issues related to the wounds and their medical treatment. The family should take pictures of the lesions and the progress of treatment. Records of the measures taken to treat the wounds can be acquired from the patient’s healthcare providers. They should also document any changes in the patient’s general condition, their need for painkillers and other pertinent details. Families should also research any past lawsuits filed against the facility for similar types of problems. If possible, the family should also create a record of the daily care the patient receives that relates to how the bed sores developed.
Settlement of Bed Sore Lawsuit
Lawsuits against facilities that have neglected appropriate care for bed sores are common. In many ways, these suits are the only way families can hold healthcare facilities liable for injury to their loved ones or death of the patient while they are in the care of the institution. If the family can show that the facility was negligent in the care of the individual, they have a good chance to receive a settlement for compensation of expenses related to the treatment of the wounds, as well as for future care that may be needed as a result of the neglect. In addition, the patient may be awarded an amount for pain and suffering that resulted from the neglect, as well as an amount of “punitive damages” to discourage the facility from allowing others in their care to be injured in a similar circumstance. The amount of a settlement for bed sore injuries depends upon the severity of the wounds, the actions or lack thereof by the facility and the amount of pain and suffering incurred by the patient and the family, as a result of the problem. These factors can vary from one case to another.
Do you Need Help with a Bed Sores lawsuit in Arizona?
If you or a loved one has developed a bed sore due to staff negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for the added pain. You should contact a medical malpractice lawyer today to discuss your case, or see Jared Everton’s recent case results first. Bed sores can cause serious problems to a patient who is incapacitated, immobile or in a coma. If loved ones have been affected by this problem while in the care of a facility, contact a bed sores lawyer in Mesa, Arizona to discuss your legal options.
Call Personal Injury Attorney Jared Everton at (480) 467-4392 to discuss your case today.
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