Nursing Home Bedsore Lawsuit

October 04, 2022

Nursing Home Bedsore Lawsuit

A bedsore is an injury to a particular skin area resulting from constant pressure on that area for some time. The continuous pressure in that area lessens blood flow, leading to damage and death to the underlying tissue. Bedsores, also known as pressure injuries, pressure ulcers, pressure sores, or decubitus ulcers, affect people confined to a bed or wheelchair, or who wear a cast for an extended period.

A bedsore is an avoidable injury that should never occur in a nursing home if patients receive proper care and attention. The Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) considers bedsores an identifiable, preventable error and a severe consequence for patients. As a result, care facilities must notify a patient's relatives to inform them of the bedsore once identified. Despite this, a patient's relatives are sometimes kept in the dark for some days or maybe more about the bedsore situation, thereby causing them more pain and suffering. For years, nursing homes, hospitals, living care facilities, and other facilities complained that Medicare refused to offset expenses incurred in treating bedsores acquired in the institution. This prompted an investigation from both federal and state surveyors, resulting in fines against erring facilities.

If you or a family member experienced negligence resulting in bedsores at a nursing facility or hospital, you may be entitled to compensation. A personal injury lawyer can advise you of your options and next steps.


What are Bedsores?

A bedsore is an injury to a particular skin area resulting from constant pressure on that area for some time. The continuous pressure in that area lessens blood flow, leading to damage and death to the underlying tissue. Bedsores, also known as pressure injuries, pressure ulcers, pressure sores, or decubitus ulcers, affect people confined to a bed or wheelchair, or who wear a cast for an extended period.

A bedsore is more likely to develop on various sites on the body with less mobility. They are more common in locations with less fat, which acts as the body's cushion to relieve pressure. They include:

  • Spine and shoulder blades

  • Tailbone

  • Ankles

  • Knees

  • Hips and buttocks

  • Rear of the head


Development Stages of Bedsores

Bedsores develop gradually when the caregiver fails to assist the patient in constantly moving the parts of the body that have remained motionless for long. The prolonged pressure on that area of the body can go from mild to worse. Bedsores develop in four developmental stages:

  • First Stage: The affected area on the skin, though still intact, becomes red and sensitive to touch.

  • Second Stage: The affected area peels off, revealing the underlying tissue.

  • Third Stage: The affected area peels off completely, exposing the muscles and nerves. The injury will be left open, showing a damaged surface.

  • Fourth Stage: The exposed muscles suffer damage, making it possible to see the patient's bone through the injury. This can result in either death or damage to the skin, tissue, or bone.


Causes of Bedsores

Patients in long-term care nursing facilities are more prone to suffering bedsores due to their lengthy hospice care. The factors that contribute to the development of bedsores include:

  • Immobility: The inability of a patient to change positions, shift, or move from one place to another

  • Incontinence (involuntary control over urination and defecation) exposes the skin to damage.

  • Medical diseases that alter blood flow (such as diabetes)

  • Medical disorders that cause numbness (spinal cord injury)

  • Lack of nutrition and dehydration

  • Too much pressure on blood vessels, skin, and tissue due to obesity.


Nursing Facility Negligence Resulting in Bedsores

Although not all bedsores may be avoided, the majority of them can. Nursing facilities owe it to their patients to provide the highest level of care possible. A nursing facility can be held accountable if they are careless and enable bedsores to emerge that could have been avoided. Unfortunately, nursing home negligence and bedsores frequently coexist.

There are many ways the negligence of a nursing facility or hospital can result in bedsores for a patient. These include where:

  • The patient did not receive proper or regular movement of the body to prevent bedsores from developing.

  • The nursing facility failed to undertake an initial skin breakdown examination.

  • The nursing facility or hospital did not follow its rules of care, or were short of staff.

  • The nursing facility or hospital failed to develop a means of detecting, preventing, or treating such injuries.

  • The nursing facility failed to provide sufficient nutrition and keep the patient hydrated.

  • The nursing facility did not reposition the patient correctly, causing a shear on the skin.

  • The patient's bed and clothing were not regularly changed.

  • The pressure on the heels and toes resulted from wrong footwear by the nursing facility.


How Nursing Facilities or Hospitals Can Prevent or Treat Bedsores

Not all bedsores can be avoided, but there are ways that the nursing facility or hospitals can prevent or stop them from emerging or becoming worse. They include:

  • Repositioning the patient regularly and helping them reduce pressure on the affected area

  • Examining and monitoring the skin for discoloration

  • Giving them the proper meal for a healthy diet and keeping them hydrated always.

  • Taking care of the bedsores to avoid infection

  • Offering them medication to help speed up the healing.


How To Prove Your Claim

In a situation where you or a loved one suffered bedsores while being taken care of in a nursing facility, you can file a lawsuit for medical malpractice and negligence. Alternatively, you could file for wrongful death if you lost someone due to a bedsore complication. Your injury lawyer will help with your claim; all you have to do is to prove these four points in court:

  • Duty: That the nursing facility owed the patient a duty of care but provided none

  • Breach of Duty: That the facility violated that right by failing to provide care for the patient

  • Causation: The facility's violation of that care caused the patient's bedsore or worsened it.

  • Damages: The facility's negligence incurred losses on your part.

The damages you may recover as compensation include:

  • The patient's pain and suffering (either mental or physical).

  • Past and present medical expenses.

  • Loss of wages.

  • Restriction of lifestyle activities.


An experienced personal injury attorney can help

Seeing a relative suffer bedsores or die from complications arising from one because of a nursing facility's negligence can be emotionally draining. The majority of bedsore claims against nursing homes allege that the nursing staff failed to provide proper care for the patient. Staff shortage and poor staff training are frequent topics in litigation, even though the main factors may be complicated.

Bedsore lawsuits may not be easy, but an experienced attorney in the medical field can help you get the compensation you deserve. Whether the suit gets settled out of court or not, a personal injury attorney will help you receive the legal help and justice you deserve.

Contact an experienced lawyer immediately to start the process of securing fair compensation and justice for the harm done to you or your loved one.