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Feb 18, 2011

Bedsores, pressure ulcers, and decubitus ulcers are all terms for the same thing:

A) BACKGROUND:
There is nothing mystifying about the development of bedsores. The combination of high risk patients and neglectful care causes bed sores. Bedsores occur when immobile or otherwise high risk patients are not routinely moved, allowing pressure points to be relieved, in their hospital beds. Plain and simple, when this regular rotation does not occur, the neglected patient develops pressure ulcers.

Bedsores result in countless amputations and other surgical interventions every year. Bedsores are also responsible for an overwhelming number of patient deaths. Even the word "bedsores" simply does not adequately describe the danger of this skin breakdown process.

There is nothing natural, common, or tolerable about any sort of bedsore. Bedsores indicate oversight, poor staffing, inexperienced staff, neglect, and nearly always result in permanent injury. In fact, the fight to get back one's health after bedsores can take years and hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Proper nursing procedures require that an adequate patient history be taken to determine if a patient is at risk for bedsores.

Immobile patents, including the bedridden, but also patients who are minimally mobile, are at higher risk to develop bed sores, as are patients with diabetes, patients with neuropathy (those who lack feeling in their extremities), patients with poor nutrition, patients who have compromised mental faculties, etc.

Proper (and sadly, rarely followed) protocol requires nursing staff to assess patients' risk of developing bedsores through a rating system. One such system is called the Braden Scale. This system calls for nursing staff on each nursing shift (twice a day), to individually score each patient for their risk of developing bed sores. Based on how each patient scores, nurses are supposed to determine the need for additional skin integrity preservation efforts.

For example, an immobile patient with moderate dementia, with neuropathy, and stage 2 diabetes, will be red-flagged using the Braden Scale. For such a patient, staff should be on high-alert and fully utilizing all bedsore prevention methods.

When nurses do their job, bedsores almost never occur. But when nurses are neglectful with patient needs, bedsores are usually the best evidence of neglect.

The nursing home or hospital records, if you know what you are looking for, should literally tell the entire story of the negligence that precipitated your loved one's bedsores.

The records will invariably show that your loved one was not correctly identified as high risk for bedsores. The records will show that the reevaluation of risk factors was invariably not done, as required, by each nursing shift (twice per day). The records will show that, even with appreciation of the high risk factors present, no adequate skin integrity protocols were implemented until it was too late.

Invariably, even when the records reflect that the patient has bedsores, the first report of those bedsores will be far beyond the early stages. If the condition is already to the point of black eschar (tissue death), that is NOT something that happens in half a day. It means it was there for a while, and your loved one was neglected.

Bedsores should never be tolerated and are a clear sign of neglect. Your loved one, who has dedicated so much of their life to you, certainly doesn't deserve to be treated this way. It is not your fault. You entrusted this loved one to professionals who should live up to their responsibilities. When they don't, they should be held responsible, or else the negligence will just continue.

If you have a loved one who has developed bedsores, please speak to one of our attorneys at Anderson Hemmat today. We can help you hold these "professionals" responsible and end the negligence.

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