Bed sores are the result of continuous pressure against the skin in patients with limited mobility to the point where they are unable to move in their beds or chairs. Also referred to as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers, bed sores are far easier to prevent than they are to treat. That is why New York law looks to protect patients from developing them. State health law mandates that nursing homes work to prevent the development of bed sores and, if they do in fact develop, to provide the necessary treatment. Bedsores can have dire consequences when they are not addressed early on or are improperly treated.
New York nursing homes must reposition patients with limited mobility, at a minimum, every two hours. Without this repositioning, bed sores can develop quickly, especially in the tailbone, shoulder blades, and elbows of the patient. Frequent repositioning, as well as adequate hydration and proper nutrition, should help prevent the sores from developing. If they do develop in a patient, New York law grants residents the ability to sue the facility. Bringing a personal injury suit against a nursing home facility for negligence leading to the development of bed sores in a resident can result in the plaintiff receiving compensatory damages to help cover the costs associated with treating them, as well as pain and suffering.
What Happens if Bed Sores Are Not Properly Treated?
Bed sores begin as slight discoloration of the skin over a pressure point or bony part of the body. Without early treatment, the sores may deteriorate into open wounds. Further still, the wounds can deteriorate to the point where there is substantial tissue damage that extends all the way to the bone. Bed sores are labeled in a range of severity, stage 1 being the least severe, up to stage 4, which is the most severe. A Stage 1 bed sore looks like red, irritated skin or discolored skin. Stage 4 bedsores are those that have progressed so far that the wound has caused muscle deterioration and infiltrated the bone underneath (something called osteomyelitis). Without proper treatment, bed sores can become infected and life-threatening.
The best treatment happens as soon as there is an indication that a bed sore is developing. Treatments include dressings and debridement procedures. In some cases, a wound vac is used. If the bed sore has become infected, sepsis might occur, resulting in the shutting down of bodily organs and even death. Infection may also lead to the development of gangrene. In some cases, amputation may be necessary.
Helping Victims of Nursing Home Abuse in NYC
If a nursing facility is living up to its requisite standard of care, bed sores should not happen. They are painful and can become serious to the point of proving fatal. The victims of bed sores are those individuals that rely on these facilities to help take care of them. Scaffidi & Associates fights for those victims of nursing home abuse. If you or your loved one has not received necessary care at a nursing home facility, contact us today.
Posted in: Nursing Home Abuse and Negligence