According to a new government report, the occurrence of bedsores in hospitals has increased nearly 80% since 1993. These serious open wounds were mainly found among elderly patients, and can have a devastating impact on their overall health and quality of life. The medical malpractice lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. investigate potential hospital bedsore lawsuits nationwide.
Bedsores, which are also known as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers, are caused by a lack of blood flow to an area of the skin when prolonged pressure is applied to one area of the body. They are typically seen among people who are unable to turn or reposition themselves, and often develop on the tailbone, heels, elbows and shoulder blades, where skin is thinner.
According to the New York Times, a new report from the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found that the number of hospital bedsores in the United States increased from 281,300 in 1993 to 503,300 in 2006. This 78.9% increase eclipses the 15% increase in overall hospital admissions found between 1993 and 2006.
Most of the hospital pressure ulcers were found among inpatients who were 65 years old or older. Elderly patients are most vulnerable to bedsores, especially if they are not well-nourished or their immune systems are compromised.
The report does not draw any conclusions about what is causing the increase in hospital pressure sores, but indicates that through cooperation between nurses, dietary aids, physical therapists and physicians, these bed sores are preventable.
Bedsores often start as an area of red or irritated skin, and if they go undetected and untreated, they can progress to a painful, open wound that may become infected.
Earlier this year we wrote about research which suggested that multidisciplinary team efforts can be successful in reducing severe bedsores by 69%. The study, which focused on nursing home bedsores, found that the key to success was identifying patients at a higher risk for bedsores, such as those suffering from mobility problems, poor nutrition or incontinence. Consistent measures were then taken to prevent sores, such as moving and repositioning the patients more frequently, using padding or cushions to reduce pressure on any one part of the body and using moisture barrier creams.
HOSPITAL BED SORE LAWYERS
If the proper standards of medical care in the industry are followed, nursing home and hospital bedsores can and should be prevented. When patients are not properly monitored and turned, what can start as an area of red or irritated skin can develop into large and potentially life-threatening open wounds.
The bedsore lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. investigate potential lawsuits throughout the United States in cases where the open wounds have led to an infection, severe change in the patients quality of life or death. To review a potential case for a family member or loved one, request a free consultation and claim evaluation.