Bedsores and pressure sores should never happen while in a hospital, nursing home or other facility. The bedsore develops due to prolonged pressure or friction on vulnerable areas of the body. Typical areas include, the tail bone, sacrum, hips, heels and elbows. Bedsores with red irritated skin left untreated will breakdown, leading to tissue death, then the skin will break open and become infected, and ultimately and tragically leading to death in some cases. (See our Bed Sore Fact Sheet for more Info) Bedsores can also trigger other ailments, such as bladder distension, anemia and sepsis, sometimes resulting in a wrongful death. It is important to understand that bedsores are 100 percent preventable, is a sign of negligence and yes, you can sue for the damage and pain that bedsores or pressure sores cause.
There are federal laws in place to protect patients of a nursing home or hospital. These laws were designed to ensure that the residents or patients get proper care. In addition to the federal laws, states have enacted their own laws to protect patients. In Georgia, we utilize the following statutes: O.C.G.A. §31-8-103 through §31-8-121, collectively known as the “Bill of Rights for Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities”.
It is important to note that bedsores are not the fault of the patient or the resident. The patient is completely dependent on the staff who has the medical training to care for him or her. It is the caretaker’s job to make sure the patient is turned regularly if the patient is immobile. This relieves pressure and prevents the sores. Proper cleaning is also paramount in these situations. Bedsores are caused by nursing home and hospital negligence. The patient is the victim.
As such, under certain circumstances, the existence of bedsores on someone who is at a care facility is often enough for a lawsuit. Consider these questions that will be part of the initial legal investigation:
- Was your parent or other loved one in need of total care and assistance of all aspects of daily living?
- Did the staff fail to provide basic hygiene and allow the bedsores to become infected?
- Did the staff fail to alert a doctor or medical staff for treatment (covering with a bandage for an “out of sight, out of mind approach”)?
How should Someone Proceed Who Believes They Have a Lawsuit?
If you or someone you love is suffering or has been suffering from these types of sores, contact us. Attorney David Crawford has the experience and knows exactly where to start. If the initial facts warrants further legal investigation, David and his team will gather information about the patient’s history so that he has a complete understanding of how, and when, this occurred. He will work with you and others to develop a detailed time line to understand what happened to your loved one, any warning signs that were ignored by the hospital or nursing home staff and what could have been done to avoid the problem. In essence, David will show you the negligent acts and omissions that may have occurred and help you understand the case prior to filing any lawsuit.