Martinsburg Bedsores and Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers
Bedsores are a serious and painful condition that occur in nursing homes and can be life-threatening if not properly treated. They are also an indication that the nursing home resident is being neglected and not receiving adequate attention, monitoring or care. Read on to learn more about bedsores and why they should be diagnosed and treated as soon as they appear. If you have a loved one in a West Virginia nursing home who is showing signs of neglect such as bedsores, contact the Martinsburg nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers at Burke, Schultz, Harman & Jenkinson for a free case evaluation at 304-LAWYERS.
How bedsores form
The medical term for bedsores is decubitus ulcers, although they are more commonly referred to as pressure ulcers, pressure sores or simply bedsores. Bedsores result from prolonged pressure on the skin due to contact with another surface, such as a bed or wheelchair. For this reason, bedsores most often appear on the buttocks or back, as well as elbows, head and ears. A person who spends the day in a wheelchair needs to be repositioned throughout the day to prevent bedsores from forming, just as a person who is bedridden needs to be turned or repositioned throughout the day and night.
If the nursing home is using high-density foam mattresses, the patient does not need to be turned as often, although nursing staff should still look in on the patient regularly to monitor medical needs and maintain social contact. Even if the patient has some mobility, other forms of neglect can put the patient at greater risk for bedsores. For instance, poor nutrition or dehydration create skin and tissue problems, and accompanying weight loss means less fat and muscle and less cushion for bones coming into contact with a wheelchair seat or low-quality mattress.
Bedsores can cause extreme medical complications
With proper care and attention, bedsores should never form in the first place. If they do appear, measures should be taken to treat them and remove the underlying cause before serious injury results. Bedsores are a progressive condition, classified into four stages:
- Stage I – The skin is not broken, but it is red or discolored and possibly painful
- Stage II – The wound is open and painful and starts to extend further into more layers of skin
- Stage III – The bedsore extends through all layers of skin to the subcutaneous fat layer
- Stage IV – Muscle, tendon and bone are exposed in the ulcer
In addition to the wound itself, several very serious complications can arise due to untreated bedsores. These include:
- Sepsis – An inflammatory response to a bacterial infection in the blood which may occur when a deep wound gets infected. Sepsis can lead to organ failure, septic shock and death.
- Cellulitis – A bacterial infection in an ulcer that spreads into the layer of fat and connective tissue underneath the skin
- Osteomyelitis – A staph infection in the bone that may require surgery or amputation
- Joint Infection – A painful condition that can erode cartilage and damage bone. May require infected joint fluid to be drained with a needle or arthroscopically, or require open surgery.
- Cancer – Bedsores put patients at risk of squamous cell carcinoma, a potentially deadly form of skin cancer.
Hold West Virginia Nursing Homes Accountable for Harm Caused by Bedsores and Neglect
Bedsores are painful, life-threatening, and a common sign of nursing home neglect. With proper care, bedsores are 100% preventable, and if they do appear, they are 100% treatable if adequate care and attention is paid in time. If you or a loved one has been harmed by bedsores in a skilled nursing facility or assisted living facility in West Virginia, contact the Martinsburg nursing home neglect attorneys Burke, Schultz, Harman & Jenkinson at 304-263-0900 or 304-LAWYERS for a free case evaluation.