As Detroit and Michigan personal injury lawyers, we litigate different types of injury cases every single day. However, one of the most upsetting and gruesome types of cases is bedsores resulting from nursing home neglect and abuse. Bedsores, also known as pressure sores, ulcers, or decubitus ulcers, are extremely painful and sometimes life-threatening. These types of injuries are easy to prevent and result solely because of a nursing home staff member’s mistreatment or negligence.
The Lee Steinberg Law Firm has been helping injured nursing home patients and their families with nursing home negligence and bedsore injuries for over 40 years. Our nursing home abuse lawyers work tirelessly to ensure no stone goes unturned in our investigation of nursing home cases. This includes obtaining all medical records, hiring experts, interviewing witnesses, and taking the depositions of staff employees, supervisors and managers so our clients can receive the money and justice they deserve.
What Is a Bedsore?
A bedsore is an injury that involves damage to the skin and underlying tissue due to extended and prolonged pressure. Bedsores can form quickly and treatment after a certain point is very difficult. Nursing home residents with limited mobility are uniquely at risk for suffering these injuries.
The most common area for bedsores is the buttocks, low back, tailbone, hips, and the backs of arms and legs. For residents who are in a wheelchair, bedsores can also develop in the back of their knees, their head, and shoulder blades.
Signs and Symptoms of Bedsores
Bedsores or pressure ulcers can be extremely painful. If they are not treated properly, they can lead to permanent injury, infection, and even death. That’s why it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of bedsores. These signs include:
- The skin is discolored and appears red and irritated.
- The skin does not lighten or change when you touch it. When pressure is applied to healthy skin, the area lightens up and then returns to normal appearance after the pressure is released. If the skin does not lighten up, this can be a sign of soreness and bruising.
- Blistering. If an area of the skin is discolored and appears to be blistering, this is a sign of a bedsore. The area of the skin may be infected.
- The area is sore. If an area of the skin is abnormally sore and painful for your loved one, this needs to be investigated.
Bedsores are easily preventable but hard to treat once they reach a certain point. If the patient is elderly or has pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, it can make the situation that much worse.
If you believe that a loved one has been mistreated and has bedsore or pressure ulcers as a result of a nursing home or assisted living facility negligence in Michigan, call the Lee Steinberg Law Firm at 1-800-533-3733. We want to hold the nursing home accountable for the pain, medical bills, and negligence it has caused you and your loved one.
What Happens if Bedsores Go Untreated?
Bedsores that go left untreated can grow in size and scope. They can lead to all sorts of problems, such as:
- Deep sores with dead or necrotic tissue. Dying tissue is dangerous and can cause sepsis or other very dangerous conditions. Dying tissue can lead to infection. The result can be amputation, multiple surgeries, trips to the hospital and even death.
- Bone and Muscle Exposure. Deep bedsores can lead to exposure of bone, muscle and tissue. This is not only very painful, but hard to reverse and can lead to other very dangerous medical ailments.
- Damage to other parts of the body. Left untreated, bedsores can cause infections that spread to other parts of the body. This can lead to catastrophic results.
Nursing Home Negligence and Bedsores in Michigan
Residents at a nursing home or assisted living facility are assessed for the risk of developing bedsores. If a patient is less mobile than others, diabetic, or has certain skin problems, this patient should be more closely monitored for bedsore formation.
A nursing home staff must develop and implement a plan to prevent bedsores and pressure ulcers from forming. This plan must be communicated to all employees caring for the patient and noted in the patient’s chart. Failing to do this can lead to easily preventable injuries and negligence on the part of the nursing home staff.
To prevent bedsores from forming, nursing staff are often required to turn and move patients, in particular their legs and torso, so pressure does not build up too much in one particular area. When a patient is turned, the aide or nurse should check for bedsores or skin irritation. If an area looks troublesome, it should be treated immediately with medication and bandages.
Bedsores are graded from least severe (stage 1) to most severe (stage 4). A stage 4 bedsore carries a serious risk of infection or even death. Because stage 4 bedsores are often preventable, they may be a sign of hospital or nursing home abuse or neglect.
The Braden Scale is a widely used measurement for assessing pressure ulcer risk and ensuring appropriate prevention measures. The scale looks at various risk factors, such as mobility, nutrition, friction and shear, activity, and moisture in developing a point scale to assess a patient’s risk for bedsores. The lower the score, the more severe the risk. For example, a person who is confined to a bed has constantly moist skin, is not mobile, and has poor nutrition is going to have a low score, and therefore a severe risk for pressure sores and bedsores.
Nursing homes that fail to use the Braden Scale, or some similar plans to assess a patient’s risk for bed sores are negligent. Failing to assess a patient and regularly turn them can be a basis for bringing a lawsuit.
Pressure Ulcers at Detroit and Michigan Nursing Facilities are Not Acceptable
Bedsores do not have to happen. In fact, they are easy to prevent. By simply checking in with patients on a routine basis to make sure circulation is not cut off from areas in the body, or moving patients into different positions, caregivers can ensure blood flow is moving throughout the body. By not doing this, certain areas of the body are deprived of oxygen, leading to necrotic tissue and muscle.
When a caregiver takes the time to move a patient or check their body for bedsores, it is easy to prevent this very painful injury. At an early stage, bedsores can be treated with topical medications and ointments. But if you leave bedsores too long, they can grow in size and result in tissue death.
It is inexcusable to allow a patient to suffer from bedsores and ulcers because they are so easy to prevent. A nursing staff that is adequately trained, staffed, and managed should be able to easily notice a patient who is in pain and a sore that smells and is infected. Failing to see, investigate and treat a bedsore is a violation of industry regulation and the standard of care. As a result, a nursing home can be held accountable for this failure and the injuries that result.
Detroit and Michigan Bedsore Lawyers Can Help
With the increase in the nursing home population in Michigan, and the staffing shortages that continuously plague the nursing home industry, bedsores, and severe bedsore injuries have increased dramatically over the years.
Most nursing homes are now owned by large corporate companies or nursing homes chains. Their goal is to maximize profit, not necessarily maximize care. Our team of experienced Michigan nursing home abuse and bedsore lawyers will investigate your case, retain experts, obtaining medical records, and thoroughly litigate your case so you can obtain the compensation you deserve.
Call the Lee Steinberg Law Firm at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3333) for a free consultation. Our team of Detroit bedsore injury lawyers is standing by and ready to answer your questions. And we never charge anything until we win your case.