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Pressure sores (also known as ‘bed sores’) can happen when continuous pressure is put on specific areas of skin. Patients at particular risk are those who are immobile, bed-bound or have poor circulation, as they may be unable to shift their position to reduce the risk of developing pressure sores.
Negligence can cause or worsen pressure sores if:
Assessments should be made by medical staff for patients who have been identified as at risk of developing pressure sores.
To prevent pressure sores from getting worse, additional monitoring should take place.
The long term effects vary depending on the severity of the pressure sores. Pressure sores are given various gradings:
This is the mildest form and is where patients suffer from discoloration of the skin.
Patients may suffer skin loss as the result of some of the outer surface or the deeper layer of skin being damaged. The ulcer that develops will look similar to an open wound or blister.
Skin loss will occur throughout the thickness of the skin and while no bone or muscle will be affected, it can lead to underlying tissue becoming damaged with an ulcer appearing as a cavity-like wound.
This is the most severe, where patients suffer from deep and painful open wounds, and the surrounding skin tissue may be dead (also known as ‘necrotic’).
Grade four pressure sores rarely heal if they get worse and often remain as painful, open wounds. Patients often need on-going care to clean and dress the wounds. Sometimes, patients need to undergo surgical debridement, which is the removal of dead tissue surrounding the wound.
Complications linked with with severe pressure sores can include:
In the most severe cases, pressure sores can be fatal. Read more about pressure sore claims.
If you have further questions or concerns about how pressure sores were allowed to develop, either for yourself or a loved one, then call our team for free initial advice on 0800 121 6567, or contact us online and we’ll get back to you.
The above information relates to the law in England and Wales.
Please note that we do not deal with Scottish medical negligence cases. Contact the Scottish Law Society on 0131 2267411 who can advise on the options available to you.
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