Bedsores can be prevented. Therefore, bedsores can be the result of nursing malpractice by either the hospital or nursing home.
Bedsores are more properly known as pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers. They are lesions that occur usually in the areas of the sacrum, elbows, knees, and ankles. Bedsores typically occur when a patient is immobile. The easiest way to prevent bedsores is to turn the patient every two hours so that the pressure is relieved.
There are various degrees of severity from Stage I, which is superficial, to Stage IV where the ulcer has eaten into the muscle, tendon, or even the bone.
Generally, a hospital or nursing home will be liable for bedsores since the prevention is fairly simple.
However, hospital or nursing home may attempt to present various defenses, such as
- the patient’s propensity to develop bedsores due to other health conditions, such as diabetes or obesity;
- the patient’s dementia; and
- the bedsore was caused by substandard care by a prior medical institution.
The defense that the patient could not complain due to dementia or other illness is a poor defense. The eldery patient is in a weakened condition, and the hospital must take special care of such a patient.
As with all cases, it is important to do early investigation. Generally, photographs of the bedsore are necessary.
In a bedsore case that we handled, the patient contracted a serious bedsore during her admission for various other illnesses. She was discharged from the hospital with a raging bedsore. The family tried to care for their mother at home, but it was hopeless. The client was re-admitted to the hospital where she eventually died from other causes. Although the hospital claimed that it was blameless for her getting the bedsore, due to her overweight and diabetes, the hospital admitted that it was wrong in discharging her with this life threatening condition.
If a family member has contracted bedsores, please feel free to contact me for a free consultation at 800-581-1434 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mark E. Seitelman, 8/10/10, www.seitelman.com.