When people are not able to move their bodies on a regular basis, they can develop what are known as bedsores or pressure ulcers on parts of their bodies. Many people in our elderly community have a higher probability of developing pressure ulcers because they are confined to a bed. Other members of our population, such as disabled people who are wheelchair-bound, are also more likely to develop pressure ulcers. This is especially true if the individual is under someone else’s care, and they are not being cared for properly.
Bedsores and other pressure ulcers can develop quite rapidly, and if left untreated, can lead to infection and tissue death; however, bedsores can be prevented with appropriate preventative care. If you or someone you know has developed bedsores from the improper care of a third party, such as a nursing home or other care facility, you may have a personal injury claim. Let our experienced New York personal injury attorneys help you keep caretakers accountable and fight for the injured victim’s rights.
Understanding The Stages Of Bedsores and Pressure Ulcers
In order to determine how long a bedsore or pressure ulcer has been neglected, it is important to understand how these injuries develop. Medical professions stage bedsores and pressure ulcers as follows:
- Stage I – This is the beginning stage of the injury, characterized by red, unbroken skin that does not whiten when touched. On people with darker skin, the site may be discolored and will not whiten when touched. The injured site might be tender, painful or firmer than surrounding skin.
- Stage II – At this point, the outer layers of skin are damaged, and a wound will appear as either a shallow red or pink sore or a fluid-filled or popped blister.
- Stage III – The wound may appear as a deep-crater that may expose some fat tissue, and the bottom of the ulcer may appear yellow due to dead tissue.
- Stage IV – Large-scale tissue loss characterizes this stage. The ulcer may expose underlying tissues such as muscle, tendons, and bone. The bottom of the injury may appear dark and crusty, representing extended tissue damage.
If the wound surface is covered in yellow, brown, black, or dead tissue, the ulcer is considered “unstageable” because it is not possible to see how deep the wound is.
When visiting a loved one in any type of care home, especially if they are likely candidates for bedsores or pressure ulcers, it’s a good idea to check for these types of injuries. Presence of Stage I injuries should be immediately reported to the nursing staff. Presence of injuries beyond Stage I may be indicative of neglect or abuse and should be reported immediately to the individual’s primary care physician for further care and instruction.
Common Areas Pressure Sores Appear
Pressure ulcers can occur frequently in people who use a wheelchair. Skin that covers bony areas is most affected. These areas can include:
- The tailbone or buttocks
- Shoulder blades and spinal protuberances
- The back of the arms (especially elbows) and legs where they rest against the wheelchair
Common sites in which bedsores can appear when someone is bedridden include:
- The head
- Rims of the ears
- Shoulders and shoulder blades
- Hips, back, or tailbone
- Skin on the back of legs
Complications Associated With Bedsores and Pressure Ulcers
If bedsores and pressure ulcers are left untreated, it can have serious consequences, including:
- Bones and joint infections
If your loved one is bed or wheelchair bound, it is critical that they are periodically repositioned in order to help avoid the development of bedsores and pressure ulcers.
Development of Bedsores and Pressure Ulcers In Care Facilities
The development of bedsores and pressure ulcers is a sign that there could be neglect and abuse on the part of the medical staff. This is negligent care that can be a felony criminal offense.
If you or a loved one has developed bedsores or pressure ulcers while under the care of a third party, it is important to act quickly to avoid complications. The following steps can save lives:
- Report developing sores to nursing staff.
- Report serious wounds to nursing staff and primary care providers.
- If you suspect neglect or abuse, contact the police.
- If dealing with elderly patients, contact the National Center on Elder Abuse.
- Speak with an experienced New York elder abuse attorney.
Contact Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. Today
If you are facing an issue of care home neglect or abuse, contact our team of New York personal injury attorneys at Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. We have a track record of success in keeping care homes accountable and protecting the rights of injured individuals throughout New York. Contact us today at 1-888-575-6410 or fill out our online contact form for a free case evaluation. We will fight for you!