Bed Sores • Decubitus & Pressure Ulcers
Bed sores occur when parts of the skin crack open due to lack of movement over a long period of time. Other terms for bed sores are decubitus ulcers and pressure ulcers. The most common cause of this is poor care in nursing homes. Unfortunately, this is a major problem in nursing homes in Chicago and throughout the United States. The inefficient structure of many nursing homes makes enforcing proper treatment more difficult; and medical malpractice in the form of nursing home neglect has become a widespread issue.
Bed sores typically happen on pressure points where the patient’s body puts the most weight on the bed (like the spine, hips and heels). The pressure put on the skin in these areas causes skin cell damage through lack of sufficient blood supply. In severe cases, untreated bed sores can cause death to the victim.
When a bed sore is in early stages, the affected skin area will become red. If pressure is not relieved the sore will continue to get worse. Eventually blisters will form, and if left untreated the blisters will crack and open up. At this advanced stage, the patient’s bones, muscles, joints and tendons can become injured. It is not uncommon for the body to respond to bed sores like it would a blood-borne infection. This can cause sepsis in elderly patients which can lead to septic shock that can in turn lead to death if the patient does not get necessary treatment.
Preventing bed sores is very easy in most cases. Doctors can quickly examine patients to look for symptoms of infection. If nursing home patients are cared for properly with bathing and clean bedding, bed sores are easily preventable. The problem with many nursing homes in Chicago is that they are understaffed, and in many cases, under paid. Combine this with a record number of elderly needing care, and nursing home neglect becomes more prevalent. According to health experts, at least 50% of bed sore cases could have been prevented with proper medical care.
If you or a loved one has been injured, mistreated, abused, or neglected while in the care of a Chicago nursing home, contact the Chicago medical malpractice attorneys at Cirignani Heller & Harman LLP to speak with one of our physician attorneys.