Pressure Sores: How to Prevent, and what Legal Options are Available
Pressure sores, also known as bedsores, are wounds that form on the skin when excessive pressure is applied. They can be painful and slow to heal, which can lead to infection. This article explains what a pressure sore is and how to prevent them.
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What are pressure sores?
A pressure sore is a wound that develops on the skin as a result of prolonged exposure to pressure or sitting in one spot too long. The most common type of pressure sore is called a decubitus ulcer. These ulcers develop over bony areas of the body where there is less muscle or fat tissue, such as the elbows, heels, back, hips, and tailbone. Because the skin in these areas is less protected than skin in other parts of the body, the skin is more likely to break down under the pressure of body weight. Sitting on a chair all day can also cause pressure sores.
How are pressure sores caused?
Pressure sores form because of friction from pressure on the skin. Friction can cause damage that disrupts the layers of the skin. Over time, these disruptions can lead to the formation of a sore, which is characterized by a red area of skin and the formation of blisters underneath. Blisters may contain clear fluid or contain blood when the skin is broken due to trauma or bleeding under the skin. The formation of a pressure sore can also be accelerated by the presence of other health conditions, such as diabetes, malnutrition, and poor circulation.
How to prevent pressure sores
- Maintain good skin care to prevent the skin from becoming dry and cracked. Apply lotion to dry skin and keep the skin moisturized.
- Check the skin regularly for signs of changes; don’t wait for symptoms to appear before taking action and visit a skincare expert to get advice.
- Get up and turn at least once every two hours while in bed or while working in front of the computer to help prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which can increase the risk of forming pressure sores.
- Make sure there is plenty of room between the mattress and the body when you are sleeping. This will reduce the chances of you developing pressure sores. Investing in a quality mattress is another good option to avoid pressure sores while sleeping. Try to keep furniture and other items out of the way so that you are not placing excess pressure on certain parts of your body.
- Be sure to reposition yourself frequently while seated to prevent deep venous thrombosis in the legs. You may also want to try elevation of the feet and ankles when possible, to relieve pressure on your legs and reduce the risk of developing a pressure sore.
- Use cushions to lift body parts at high risk of developing a pressure sore to avoid pressure on the skin. Also, try to avoid resting or sitting in the same position for long periods of time to reduce the chance of developing a deep vein thrombosis. Getting up and moving around can help prevent a pressure sore from occurring and may help reduce the pain associated with the sore if it is already present.
Legal options for medical malpractice lawsuits regarding pressure sores
Untreated pressure sores can be extremely painful and sometimes can lead to serious health problems or death. Some pressure sores are caused by medical malpractice. If you develop pressure sores due to the negligence of a medical professional, or healthcare expert you may be entitled to financial compensation for your pain and suffering. While all cases of medical malpractice are different, the following options are the most common legal options available you can consider recovering compensation for injuries caused by medical malpractice.
1. A Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you are injured due to the negligence or intentional act of another person, you may be able to file a lawsuit against that person or their insurance company to seek damages for your injuries. To file a personal injury lawsuit, you must first consult an attorney to determine if you have a case and how much damages may be worth. Your attorney may file the suit on your behalf or advise you on how to file it on your own.
2. Filing a Claim with Your Insurance Company
In many cases, hospitals and doctors have insurance policies that will cover any lawsuits filed against them following an injury. You can file a claim with your insurance company if you believe you are owed compensation for your injuries. However, before you file a claim, you should make sure you have a clear description of the events that led to the injury and any other relevant documentation or evidence to support your claims. If the insurance company denies your claim or does not pay you a fair amount, you can consult with an attorney about what to do next.
Mediation is a type of alternative dispute resolution that allows you to resolve a dispute outside of court with the help of a mediator. Typically, attorneys on both sides negotiate the terms of the settlement during the mediation process. It is voluntary and can help the parties reach an agreement without having to go to court. If your case is very complicated or if the parties cannot agree on a settlement, you may need to take your case to court.
Pressure sores occur because of pressure being exerted on the skin for an extended span of time and can cause significant pain and even life-threatening infections if left untreated. If you have suffered an injury due to a medical mistake and are not sure if you have a claim, you should consult an attorney to discuss your legal options and determine the right course of action for you.