Pressure sores (also known as pressure ulcers or bed sores) are far too common injuries that affect residents of nursing homes that do not receive proper care. Essentially, these injuries are breakdowns of the skin, which usually develop on “bony prominences” in the body–like the heel or lower back. Wherever pressure is placed on the skin from bones for prolonged periods of time, these sores can develop. Expectedly, immobile seniors who may spend significant times in bed are at heightened risk of having skin breakdowns as a result of laying without repositioning for so long.
Fortunately, steps can be taken by caregivers to avoid those injuries. Ensuring movement, repositioning, cleansing, and similar steps can make all the differences. Failures in this regard continue to occur, however. When pressure sores do develop, they can occur along a range of seriousness, usually referred to as the four “stages” of pressure ulcers.
A Stage 1 pressure sores is one where the skin itself has not been broken, but instead appears reddened and raw. The skin is often firmer than those around it. A Stage 2 pressure sore is where the skin itself breaks away leaving an open wound. It often looks like a blister on the skin that goes through several layers. Some fluid may be visible in a Stage 2 sore, and in some case there may be permanent skin death.
A Stage 3 sore is even more serious. It refers to injuries that go beyond the outer skin and into the layers of tissue below. The most serious sores–Stage 4–refer to those that are particularly deep. Muscle and bone may be damaged. In these more serious sores, infection is common, often leading to serious complications and even death.
WebMD provides a helpful summary of these pressure sore stages.
Chicago Pressure Sore Lawyers
The nursing home neglect attorneys at our firm frequently work with families whose loved ones develop pressure sores in long-term care facilities. We work to ensure that there is full accountability and redress provided. Sometimes those cases go all the way to trial, but a majority of the time a settlement is reached between the parties to resolve the matter in a more efficient way.
For example, earlier this year we settled a case on behalf of a family whose 88-year old loved one who developed many pressure sores during a nursing home stay. Upon his admission to the Chicago nursing home, the man was known to be at risk for skin breakdowns, requiring caregivers to enact precautions to prevent harm. Sadly, they did not act appropriately. As a result the senior developed a shocking nine bed sores. Those sores worsened over time and he ultimately died as a result of complications of those ulcers and other symptoms of neglect.
The man’s family contact our firm for legal assistance. A lawsuit was filed alleging negligence. Eventually, we were able to broker a successful settlement in the amount of $750,000. Hopefully, the settlement will ensure that the facility enacts changes so that no other resident suffers the same mistreatment and harm as a result of poor care.
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