Are Hospitals Responsible For Bedsores
While we often do not consider the risk of receiving inadequate care when we are stuck in the hospital, such care is a real concern. Bedsores are one possible outcome of inadequate care. Hospitals face a significant challenge when fighting against a patient lawsuit stemming from bedsoresthey are preventable medical incidents. This almost always makes them liable when a patient gets bedsores.
How Much Is A Bed Sore Case Worth
Bed sores, also known as pressure sores, decubitus ulcers, or pressure ulcers, are a graphic sign of neglect at nursing facilities, hospitals, and other long-term care facilities.
The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC have successfully resolved bedsore cases in all care settings in Cook County and other jurisdictions in Illinois.
Our experience litigating and resolving bedsore lawsuits has given our legal team a unique perspective to evaluate your specific situation.
Bedsore Lawsuit Settlement Amounts In The 2000 Era
Studies conducted in the early 2000s found that on average, pressure study cases came in at around $300,000 to $450,000.
It was believed early on that these values were going to rise because of the aging nature of the population and the fact that those over 65 had a higher chance of developing a pressure ulcer.
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You Can Contact A Lawyer And Sue The Hospital
If you do develop bedsores when a medical facility was supposed to watch over you, you can sue them. Medical malpractice suits happen pretty often, and some lawyers deal with them exclusively.
You can reach out to an attorney who has experience in this area. Once you explain what happened, they can do their own research and carefully prepare your case. The hospital or medical facility that took care of you might decide to settle out of court, or they may elect to go to trial.
If they do go to trial, youll want to have plenty of evidence ready to back up your assertion as to what happened. You should also get an attorney that you can pay on a contingency basis. That way, you will not have to pay them anything if they fail to win your case.
If a medical facility caused your bedsores, theres no reason why you cant take the appropriate legal action against them.
What Caused The Bedsore
The actions or inaction that led to your loved ones pressure ulcer can impact the value of your case. If the nursing home committed negligence that can be viewed as a simple mistake, your case may be worth less than a case involving gross negligence and clear neglect such as leaving a resident in a wheelchair for many hours or leaving a resident in a soiled diaper for a long period of time.
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Complications From Stage 4 Bedsores
Stage 4 bedsores are often accompanied by serious and even life-threatening complications. Most often, these advanced bedsores are linked to bacterial infections. Even with treatment, a person who suffers from this type of infection may not fully recover. Common types of bacterial infections associated with stage 4 bedsores include:
- Cellulitis: This bacterial infection of the skin can lead to pain, inflammation and swelling, and redness. Without treatment, cellulitis can spread to the bloodstream or lymph nodes. It may even be fatal.
- Bacteremia: This bloodstream infection can cause sepsis and septic shock. Bacterial infections in the blood may also spread to other parts of the body and cause infections in the bone or around the heart.
- Endocarditis: This inflammation of the inner layer of the heart usually involves the heart valves. It is often caused by an infection, including that from bacteremia that results from a stage 4 bedsore.
- Meningitis: This infection of the brain and spinal cord this is characterized by fever, headaches and a stiff neck. Meningitis can be very serious and may even be fatal.
- Osteomyelitis: This infection of the bone causes pain, redness, fever and weakness. It is usually caused by a bacterial infection and may require amputation to treat.
Am I Allowed To Take Pictures Of My Parents Bed Sore
Absolutely. In fact, we recommend you photograph your loved ones wounds. Documenting your family members wound with photographs is crucial. They say a photograph is worth a thousand words. This is true in bedsore neglect claims. Pictures of the wound are necessary to prove 1) that a bedsore existed and 2) to date when the bedsore developed. Bed sore pictures can be used against the nursing home or hospital later in court.
Never rely on the facility to document the bedsore with photographs! Even if you see the wound care team taking pictures of the pressure ulcer, do not assume that those photos will make it into the medical record. Be sure to document the wound yourself by taking your own photographs, which can serve as evidence later on in your nursing home abuse claim.
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What Legal Recourse Do Nursing Home Bedsore Victims Have In New York
When nursing or assisted living facilities are responsible for new or worsening existing pressure ulcers, a bedsore injury lawsuit may be necessary to recover compensation for the damage. Residents can take legal action and seek compensation for their injuries if they have been denied any benefit or right established for their protection by contract with the facility, federal, or State laws or regulations.
The elder abuse lawyers at Dalli & Marino advocate for clients throughout New York, helping them recover maximum compensation after sustaining bedsores caused by neglect. Damages from a nursing home abuse or neglect case are in two categories: compensatory damages and punitive damages.
While punitive damages are awarded only in cases that involve outrageous conduct, compensatory damages include repayment for:
- Nursing home negligence
- Dehydration and malnutrition
The severity of bedsore injuries is one of the most significant determining factors at which a lawsuit will progress. Dalli & Marinos attorneys are prepared to assess your situation and explain your legal options. If you or a loved one have suffered due to a nursing facilitys abusive or negligent acts, you can rest assured our attorneys will fight for maximum damages and hold the facility accountable.
Unstageable Bedsores And Deep Tissue Injuries
Two newer classifications of bedsores have become more common in recent years. These classifications are unstageable bed sores and suspected deep tissue injuries.
Unstageable pressure wounds are difficult to assign a stage to. This is because the very bottom of the wound is covered by pus, dead tissue, or other tissues. Doctors assign this label to pressure ulcers when they need to clean the wound in order to determine its depth.
Suspected deep tissue injuries are identified by their purplish or maroonish color. Discolored skin that is still unbroken or blisters filled with blood can indicate damage to the underlying soft tissue.
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What Can You Do If You Develop One
If youre able to care for yourself, then the best way to avoid these painful and dangerous injuries is to stay mobile. Even if youre bedridden for a while like if youre recovering after an operation, you know that you either need to turn in your bed, or something else has to do it for you if you cant manage it yourself.
If you do develop one, you can certainly take steps to heal. Youll need to consult with a doctor. However, if you were in a hospital when it happened, the staff should know to watch out for that sort of thing.
If you have to be in a hospital after surgery, for instance, and you cant move yourself to avoid bedsores, the staff needs to do it for you. As trained medical professionals, they should know this.
If they fail in their duty, you can sue them, as this is medical malpractice. Every hospital staff should have an orderly or someone else whose job it is to walk around on the floors, going from room to room and turning or adjusting the patients so they wont develop bedsores.
What Are The Risk Factors For Bedsores
Being bedridden, unconscious, unable to sense pain, or immobile increases the risk that a bedsore will develop. The risk increases if the person is not turned, positioned correctly, or provided with proper nutrition and skin care. People with diabetes, circulation problems and malnutrition are at higher risk.
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Stage 3 Bedsore Settlement
A stage 3 bedsore settlement has a higher chance of settling with a larger value because it is a painful condition that leaves the skin open across a significant part of the body. These wounds tend to reveal severely damaged muscles and nerves.
A considerable section of skin can also start to die at this stage creating a strong smell and an increasingly difficult to treat condition.
Stage 3 sores also suggest that neglect or poor care standards were followed that allowed a sore to get past stage 1 and 2 and progress to a stage 3 sore.
Symptoms Of Stage 3 And Stage 4 Pressure Ulcers
Stages 3 and 4 pressure ulcers have deeper involvement of underlying tissue with more extensive destruction. Stage 3 involves the full thickness of the skin and may extend into the subcutaneous tissue layer granulation tissue and epibole are often present. At this stage, there may be undermining and/or tunneling that makes the wound much larger than it may seem on the surface. Stage 4 pressure ulcers are the deepest, extending into the muscle, tendon, ligament, cartilage or even bone.
Figure 1: Stage 4 sacral pressure ulcerFigure 2: Stage 3 pressure ulcer on hip
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The Severity Of The Bedsore
Bedsores can develop when a patient does not receive consistent movement assistance. As a person sits or lays in one place for an extended period of time, a combination of gravity and positioning can cut off blood flow to certain parts of the body. As those body parts go without blood, they will begin to deteriorate. The compensation you may be entitled to will vary based on the severity of that deterioration.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, bedsores tend to go through four stages of development:
- Stage 1: The skin under pressure will turn red and be sensitive to the touch, but it will remain intact.
- Stage 2: The skin under pressure will begin to wear away, revealing the epidermis.
- Stage 3: The skin under pressure will wear away in its entirety, revealing the muscles and nerves. The wound will be open, and the skin below the surface will be severely damaged
- Stage 4: It may be possible to see bone through the wound. The exposed muscle will suffer damage, and the involved party will need rehabilitation to move if the opportunity to heal arises.
As mentioned, compensation in a bedsore settlement will vary based on the severity of a partys bedsores. That compensation can cover both a persons removal from a negligent nursing home facility as well as for any surgeries or rehabilitation needed to restore a partys original quality of life.
Pressure Ulcer Injury Lawyer Near You In Baltimore Maryland & Beyond
I can help you anywhere in Maryland, including Allegany County, Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Calvert County, Caroline County, Cecil County, Charles County, Dorchester County, Frederick County, Garrett County, Harford County, Howard County, Kent County, Montgomery County, Prince Georges County, Queen Annes County, Somerset County, St. Marys County, Talbot County, Washington County, Wicomico County, and Worcester County.
I have helped clients in over a dozen jurisdictions, including California, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Washington, and Virginia.
I help injured victims nationwide in all 50 states on a case-by-case basis via Pro Hac Vice.
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Patients Need For Rehabilitation And Additional Care
If a person does manage to recover from a bout with bedsores, they may need additional care and rehabilitation to restore her original quality of life. The degree of care and rehabilitation a patient needs will vary based on the original injurys severity.
If the party in question suffers from paralysis, compensation can include measures to restore movement and tools needed to allow the involved party to move as needed. It may also consist of in-housing nurses and transportation.
Symptoms Of Bed Sores And Pressure Sores
The warning signs of developing bedsores are fairly easy to recognize. Below, we list the most common symptoms of bed sores.
- Significant and unusual changes in skin texture and color
- Skin that feels warmer or colder than normal
- Areas of tenderness
- Pus drainage from the area
Keep in mind that the symptoms of bed sores tend to vary depending on their stages. The higher the stage, the more skin breakdown and tissue damage the patient could suffer.
What Does a Bedsore Feel Like?
Again, the sensations that bedsores produce vary depending on their stage. Below, we outline how each stage of bedsores might feel.
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How Do Bed Sores Arise In Nursing Home Residents
Why do Bed Sores Develop in Nursing Home Residents? Bed sores develop when pressure is put on the skin for long periods. They cut off blood flow in the underlying area and cause other problems. Here is a set of common causes.
While many nursing home bed sore lawsuits get settled quietly, evidence suggests the average case for an advanced bed sore is over $400,000.
A Bed Sore Lawsuit In Illinois Is Worth How Much
In Illinois, bedsore lawsuits top $500,000. State costs exceed $300 million. Injury victims in Illinois can collect medical fees and restitution. Nursing home residents have rights and must accept responsibility for sores or hospitalizations. Our lawyers offer free consultations for medical errors, pressure ulcers, settlement value, and other issues.
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Stage 4 Bedsore Settlement
Stage 4 bedsore settlements also have a high chance of settling high because a stage 4 bedsore in most cases means that severe neglect has taken place.
For a bedsore to get so bad means multiple areas of care were likely ignored including failure to follow state guidelines on rotating a patient as well as providing medical care to treat an early stage bedsore.
A stage 4 bedsore will cause long-term damage, harm and pain, and even with care, once a bedsore reaches a stage 4, even aggressive treatment may not be able to reverse the damage caused.
It is because of this that most stage 4 bedsore settlements end up settling for amounts averaging well over a million dollars.
How Care Providers Can Prevent And Treat Bedsores
Some bedsores are unavoidable. But caregivers can take steps to stop bedsores from developing or getting worse. Care providers can:
- relieve pressure on the bedsores by changing a patient’s position frequently
- clean bedsores and dry them gently
- feed patients a healthy diet and give them plenty of water
- monitor bedsores for infection, and
- prescribe medication if necessary.
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Understanding The Typical Pressure Ulcer Legal Case
No two legal cases are identical. If you choose to bring a lawsuit against an entity or individual, your lawyer must look at the cases facts before they can figure out how best to proceed. Still, some cases have universalities, a common perspective through which you can start to examine them.
Today, well look at a particular legal case variety, the medical malpractice lawsuit. More specifically, well examine pressure ulcer lawsuits. Well go over what a pressure ulcer is, how youre likely to get one, and what you can do about it if you do.
What Are The Different Stages Of Bedsores
At some time or another, a hospital patient may develop a stage 1 bedsore or pressure sore from not moving enough, or simply from sitting too long in one position, in bed or in a chair. You may see a red spot on the patients skin, and the area may feel swollen, warm or hard. In most cases, if pressure is removed from the area, the signs will clear up within a few days without needing additional medical care and treatment, outside of keeping the area clean and dry and maintaining a healthy diet. This is of course assuming that you do not repeat the behavior that caused the pressure sore to develop.
If a patients caregivers ignore the initial signs of a bedsore, if they fail to regularly turn and position a patient with limited mobility, this may lead to the development of a stage 2 bedsore. Stage 2 bedsores are characterized by blistering or abrasions on the skin where the original sore appeared.
In a hospital, if a caregiver fails to recognize the signs of this stage of a bedsore and fails to take action, the patient will likely develop other medical issues at this stage, and the wound will likely require additional medical care and treatment. Bedsores must remain clean and dry to avoid infection, and the wound may need to remain covered to avoid further irritation. Typically, the recovery for stage 2 bedsores varies from a few days to several weeks if adequately assessed and treated appropriately.
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Pressure Ulcer Preventability And Settlement Value
Often bed sores cases,s cannot be prevented due to bedsores being prevented. A case analysis that surveyed more than 35 pressure ulcer lawsuits showed that half a million dollars were provided to the plaintiffs but that out of the 20 cases, 20 could have been avoided.
The primary pressure ulcer compensatory factor for the hospital is that the care facility violated the American Geriatrics Societys clinical practice guidelines, and several interrelated rules have also been violated. This interconnected guide is typically considered a cluster of deviations from guide standards.