St. Petersburg Bedsore Attorneys
A bedsore or pressure sore acquired in a hospital, nursing home or assisted living facility is not just a significant health issue, it is generally an indication of medical negligence, neglect or abuse. “Bed sores” or pressure ulcers are preventable medical conditions which generally develop when a bedridden patient is not turned or positioned regularly and is left in the same position for too long. As a result, skin breakdown can occur, which may appear minor, but can deteriorate quickly into a life-threatening medical issue.
At the Fernandez Firm Accident Injury Attorneys, our experienced team of St. Petersburg bedsore attorneys has been helping injured clients prosecuting these cases for almost 25 years. With a reputation for excellence and dedication to success, our firm has won more than $90 Million in settlements and verdicts. Although pressure sore treatment is extremely costly, Medicare, Medicaid and many health insurers frequently will not pay for that additional medical expenses associated with these injuries. If you have legal questions concerning a pressure sore injury case, please contact our office today.
Our attorneys are always available to help 1-800-222-8163.
How are Pressure Sores Caused?
Pressure sores (frequently known as bedsores, pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers) are injuries to the skin and underlying tissues which develop due to extended pressure on an area. These preventable sores commonly develop on skin covering bony areas of the body such as the buttocks, heels, ankles, elbows, hips and tailbone.
Patients at highest risk for developing bedsores are those with medical conditions which limits their ability to change positions and those restricted to a bed or chair. Others at risk include patients with cancers affecting their immune systems or those with the diminished ability to feel sensation, like pain or discomfort, due to a neurological conditions. Patients with poor nutrition and hydration are more susceptible to develop pressure sores.
To avoid pressure sores those who cannot move themselves must be frequently turned and repositioned at least every 2 hours so their weight is not on the same parts of their bodies for extended periods of time. Without regular repositioning by nursing staff, certified nursing aids (CNAs) or caregivers pressure sores can develop quickly. Worse, without treatment these sores may deteriorate rapidly becoming the source of serious infection which can impact the nearby tissues, joints and bones. Absent appropriate medical care and treatment, infected pressure sores can become life threatening.
Five Steps to Prevent Pressure Sores
I you or a loved one is currently a bedridden patient, there are several things that you can do to prevent the development of bedsores:
- Change positions or move frequently
- Keep the skin dry and clean
- Check the skin regularly for signs of developing skin breakdown
- Encourage healthy and regular eating habits
- Use bedding and specialty materials, such as foam wedges, to reduce pressure on the skin
How are Pressure Sores Staged?
Pressure sores are categorized by stages, one through four. The higher the number, the more severe the injury and greater the need for care and treatment to prevent risk of infection and serious resulting complications.
- Stage 1: This is the mildest stage for a pressure sore. At stage 1, the sores only affect the upper skin layer. The patient may feel pain, burning or an itching sensation and the surrounding tissue, may appear red and feel warm to the touch.
- Stage 2: A Stage 2 sores extends below the surface of the skin and are painful, open wound or a pus-filled blister. The area surrounding the sore may be swollen, warm and red and may drain pus or clear fluid.
- Stage 3: These sores cause damage to skin and underlying fat tissues and often present in crater-like appearance with red edges, pus, odor and visible drainage. These sores do not involve muscle, tendon or bone tissues and may appear black or necrotic.
- Stage 4: These are the most serious stage sores resulting in visible damage to the skin and extending down into the muscle layers, tendons and bones. These sores are large, deep and contain black, necrotic, dead or infected tissues. Stage 4 sores may have red edges, frequently drain pus and have a foul distinct odor. Absent immediate medical care these avoidable sores can result in death.
If you see pressure sores developing on a loved one, bring them to the attention of all nursing staff on duty and, even if healthcare providers object, photograph them weekly to document if they are improving. Also speak with management personnel to ensure your loved receives the medical care he or she needs to heal these wounds before they worsen or become infected. If you are concerned that a pressure sore is not improving, contact the Fernandez Firm Accident Injury Attorneys quickly as your family member may be suffering from avoidable medical malpractice, or even neglect.
St. Petersburg Pressure Sore – We Can Help
After we discuss the facts of your case, as well as you and your loved ones legal rights, we can start our investigation. Our goal is to ensure your loved one gets the medical treatment they need (including a transfer to another hospital, nursing home or assisted living facility, when necessary) and compensation they are entitled to receive for the avoidable injuries that have been suffered.
If you have questions regarding pressure sores acquired due to hospital negligence, nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse, contact our St. Petersburg injury attorneys today at 1-800-222-8163. Our experienced team of trial lawyers is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to discuss your legal options and the consultation is free.