Are Hospitals and Nursing Homes in Florida Responsible for Bedsores?
Gregg Hollander | July 5, 2022 | Nursing Home Neglect & Abuse
Hospitals and nursing homes could be responsible for bedsores when they fail to provide adequate patient care. Patients may be entitled to compensation for their pain, suffering, and monetary damages.
Bedsores are common in patients who are stationary. Also known as pressure ulcers or pressure sores, bedsores form when the skin and soft tissues press against a surface for a prolonged time, such as a bed or chair. The lack of blood supply to the area causes the skin to become damaged or die.
Bedsores can cause significant pain and suffering if they are not treated promptly. They can also cause permanent damage to the skin, tissues, muscles, and bones. In severe cases, patients could develop life-threatening infections and other conditions.
Patients in Nursing Homes and Hospitals at Risk for Bedsores
Bedridden or immobile patients can develop pressure ulcers because they cannot move into different positions to relieve pressure on specific areas of their bodies. Residents in nursing homes and patients in hospitals that have a high risk of developing bedsores include, but are not limited to:
- Patients receiving critical care because of a serious condition, such as patients who are in ICU, on ventilators, or unconscious
- Nursing home residents who spend most of their day in bed or a chair
- Individuals who are unable to control their bladder or bowels
- Patients with specific risk factors, such as poor circulation, diabetes, decreased feeling in body parts, overweight, or underweight
- Individuals with dementia or other conditions that cause them to be unaware they need to move or rotate their body
- Patients who have surgical procedures that require them to remain in a specific position for long periods
Medical staff in hospitals and nursing homes are responsible for assisting immobile patients in rotating every few hours to minimize the risk of bedsores. In addition, they are responsible for assisting patients in and out of bed and chairs to change positions. Also, they should monitor patients and residents to ensure they change soiled clothing and undergarments promptly.
What Are the Symptoms of Bedsores?
Pressure sores have four different stages. The symptoms and potential damage vary by stage.
Stage 1 Bedsores – Painful, red area on the skin that does not turn white when you press on the area.
Stage 2 Bedsores – Blisters or open sores on the skin. The surrounding skin might be red and irritated.
Stage 3 Bedsores – There is an open, recessed hole in the skin. There is underlying tissue damage. Body fat might be seen in the “crater” formed by the ulcer.
Stage 4 Bedsores – There is damage to the muscle and bone because of the depth of the ulcer. There could be damage to the joints and tendons.
With proper treatment, a person can recover from bedsores. However, nursing home and hospital bed sores that are not treated could lead to life-threatening conditions. Untreated Stage 4 bedsore life expectancy could be much shorter than the other stages.
Suing Hospitals and Nursing Homes for Bedsores
More than 2.5 million people develop pressure sores yearly in the United States. In addition, one study found that more than one in ten nursing home residents had bedsores.
Hospital patients and nursing home residents can seek compensation for damages caused by bedsores and pressure ulcers. Suing hospitals for bed sores and seeking hospital-acquired pressure ulcers reimbursement requires that you prove the facility was negligent in caring for the patient. The same is true for nursing home residents.
To recover compensation for damages related to bedsores in nursing homes and hospitals, you must prove:
- The facility owed you a duty of care to provide adequate care
- The facility breached the duty of care by failing to provide care that met or exceeded the acceptable standard of care
- The breach of duty was the direct and proximate cause of the bedsores or pressure ulcers
- You sustained damages and losses because of the breach of duty
All hospitals and nursing homes owe their patients and residents a duty to provide proper care. A breach of duty could include:
- Failing to have a plan in place for reducing the risk of bedsores
- Failure to train staff members on the procedures to avoid bedsores
- Understaffing nursing homes and hospitals
- Nurses, doctors, and other staff members ignored the warning signs for pressure ulcers
- Failing to provide regular daily skincare
- Not supervising patients and residents to ensure they do not remain in the same position for extended periods
- Failing to turn or move patients at regular intervals to avoid pressure sores
- Not changing a person’s soiled closing or sheets
Hospitals and nursing homes can be held liable for damages caused by bedsores. The economic and non-economic damages caused by bedsores can total hundreds of thousands of dollars. The value of the claim depends on the facts and circumstances of the case.
If you or a loved one develops bedsores in a hospital or nursing home, a Fort Lauderdale bedsore lawyer can investigate the claim, gather evidence, and file a lawsuit against the facility seeking compensation for damages.
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