What Are Bedsores?
Bedsores, also known as pressure sores or pressure ulcers, are painful skin and tissue lesions. They can be caused by humidity, friction, medication, long-term dermal contact with liquids and sustained pressure on the skin.
Bedsores can develop on any part of the body. However, they most commonly develop in bony and cartilaginous areas such as the elbows, hips, heels, buttocks and ankles. People who, due to illness or injury, need to stay in wheelchairs or beds for long periods of time are the most susceptible to developing bedsores. Bedsores are preventable if proper procedures are followed. The appearance of bedsores on a loved one may be an indication of hospital negligence, and the cause should be investigated.
How Do Bedsores Develop?
Over time, sustained pressure on the skin stops blood from flowing to the skin and underlying tissues, causing the cells to eventually die. If left untreated, the dead skin will break open and form an ulcer.
Eventually the ulcer develops into an open wound, spreading to the tissue beneath the skin. With time, bones, tendons, and muscles beneath the tissue can become exposed.
Without fast and aggressive treatment, the wound can develop gangrene or cause sepsis. If left untreated, the infection from the untreated bedsores can cause death.
Treatment of Bedsores
Bedsores are treatable if discovered early in the process. However, the best treatment for bedsores is prevention. Frequent changing of the patient's positions and using air mattresses, pads or other cushioning devices to reduce pressure on the skin may prevent bedsores.
If the bedsore has progressed below the skin, the wound must be debrided to remove the dead skin and tissue. In addition, surgery may be necessary to close the wound with skin grafts.
An Attorney Can Help
With regular monitoring, hospital staff can prevent bedsores from developing. However, bedsores often develop because of hospital negligence in failing to adequately monitor and care for their patents.
If you or a loved one have developed bedsores and suspect that the neglect of hospital employees is to blame, contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney. An attorney can protect your rights and hold the responsible parties accountable.