Pressure sores, also known as pressure ulcers, occur, at least partly, as a result of unrelieved pressure on skin tissue. Other factors that affect the development of pressure sores include the patient’s age, weight and whether or not he/she has a fever. The most vulnerable areas of the body are wherever there are bony prominences – for example the buttocks, heels, ankles and elbows.
Due to the fact that patients in hospital are often bed ridden and therefore unable to move around or turn over without assistance, they are particularly susceptible to this type of injury. Medical negligence claims arise quite commonly out of a failure on the part of hospital staff to spot and properly treat the initial signs of pressure sores beginning to form. In addition, there may have been a failure on the part of the hospital staff to adequately risk assess the patient for the development of pressure sores when the patient was first admitted to hospital.
The term “pressure sore” might suggest that such injuries are merely uncomfortable and relatively minor, but this is not the case. In the most severe cases pressure sores become infected and destroy tissue right down to the bone. The effects can be quite devastating for the sufferer and can lead to a significant amount of time off work and long term pain and discomfort.
There are various treatment measures that hospital nursing staff should implement to avoid a patient suffering pressure sores, and the failure to implement these measures is likely to lead to a medical negligence claim against the hospital Trust in the event that pressure sores subsequently develop. These measures include the following:
• Putting a patient already at high risk of developing pressure sores onto a pressure relieving mattress.
• Repositioning the patient at regular and frequent intervals.
• Carrying out an inspection of all of the patient’s skin areas at least once a day for any signs of redness.
• Ensuring that the patient is eating properly (where possible) and is taking on sufficient fluids.
Our Medical Negligence team is experienced in handling claims for clients who have sustained pressure sores whilst in hospital. So, if you or someone you know has suffered from pressure sores as a result of poor hospital treatment then contact us today for a free, no obligation consultation.