When we think of the term “bedsores” it might seem like nothing all too severe - after all how bad can an injury be from lying in bed too long?
Well, many may not be aware that bedsores, otherwise known as “pressure sores”, can be extremely serious - and in the case of the elderly - lead to detrimental health problems.
In one particular case, an elderly woman’s bedsores were so severe that they penetrated to the bone and she tragically died due to an ensuing infection.
75 year old Maria Niceforo suffered from a bleeding bedsore that ran across her thighs, which became contaminated by dried faeces and urine when she was admitted to hospital in Armadale, Australia. Her son believes Ms Niceforo was the victim of medical negligence, and that hospital staff needlessly mishandled the care of his mother.
Mr Niceforo told an inquest that an employee of KinCare, an in-home support service for the aged and disabled, visited Ms Niceforo’s home shortly before she died and, although she had infected wounds and soiled clothing, decided not to shower her. His mother, he alleges, was left with faeces on her open bedsore for a week before it was made apparent that she was suffering further.
This isn’t just an isolated incident, with thousands of cases of pressure sores leading to devastating physical consequences every year, including that of 70 year old David Dixon of South Africa. He is believed to have developed a bedsore during a 39 day stay at Addington Hospital, which according to his son was “the size of a man’s hand”.
Mr Dixon says after his father was discharged from the hospital, he took him to a private a doctor, where it was revealed he had suffered a stroke during his stay, something which wasn’t brought to light by hospital staff. Upon further examination, the doctor discovered a second bedsore that had developed on his foot that was not recorded in hospital reports.
Mr Dixon believe the hospital was negligent in its treatment of his father, with the sore deteriorating to such a state that an infection of the ulcer is believed to have led directly to his death.
Bedsores come about due to prolonged pressure on the skin. They most often develop on skin that covers bony areas such as ankles and hips. Those who have limited ability in changing positions, are confined to a wheelchair or bed for a long time are most at risk.
Although difficult to treat, medical staff should always strive to ensure suffering caused by bedsores is as minimal as possible. Unfortunately, mistakes can and still do happen in their treatment. With proper nursing care pressure sores can be prevented, whether at hospital or a care home.
Your medical examiners treatment plan should appropriately assess the risk of development of bedsores and provide adequate care to any you may currently be suffering from. To fail to do so could constitute as medical negligence and you may be liable to make a claim.
At the Specter Partnership, our team have over 30 years’ experience in dealing with claims of bedsore and pressure sore negligence. If you feel that you or a loved one have experienced substandard medical care leading to unnecessary pain and suffering, give us a call on:
020 3797 3825