Pressure sores, also known as pressure ulcers or simply bed sores, are injuries to the skin as a result of being in bed for long periods of time. A plaster form can also form and this is where a plaster is incorrectly placed after a fracture. They usually occur when a patient is ill, elderly, immobile or a diabetic who suffers with a poor skin condition.
These bed sores can take plenty of time to heal and the pressures sores sometimes can be very serious and don’t even heal at all. In this case it can lead to an infection which restricts a person’s ability to walk or even worse.
Pressure sores can prove extremely serious. If they are not treated in early stage, they can result in serious infections of the underlying tissue and even bones. Infection and other complications which result from the failure to treat pressure sores properly, can even prove fatal.
In particular where medical staff have failed to follow guidance on proper prevention and treatment which resulted in pressure sores developing, you may have grounds for a successful claim for medical negligence compensation.
What sort of negligent medical treatment causes Pressure or Plaster Sores?
Plaster sores can occur when plaster casts aren’t correctly applied. If it causes pain, then the plaster should be removed and the area checked for any sores or ulcers.
It’s usually the responsibility of the hospital staff and nurses to prevent pressure sores and plaster sores from happening. As all patients admitted into hospital are assessed upon admission using the Waterlow system, this enables the staff to know a patient’s risk of getting pressure sores.
While the risk factors assessed on an individual basis, many of the problems can be alleviated by having a good quality mattress or duvet on the patient’s bed, along with a good quality armchair to sit in and a caring friend or relative who can keep an eye on them and ensure they’re provided with good nutritious meals.
By using this as an assessment tool across all areas of care, the patient should receive ‘seamless care’ no matter if they’re moved from a hospital to a nursing or residential home or even their own home. If this wasn’t done either due to nursing errors or negligence, then you could be eligible to claim compensation.
Pressure sores in hospital are sadly far too common. Estimates from the NHS are that between 4% and 10% of patients develop at least one pressure sore.
Pressure sores – failing to tackle them
There are plenty of cases where compensation has been rewarded for failure to carry out an adequate assessment or prevent a patient’s pressure sores by providing proper nursing care or an adequate bed. If a patient’s bandages or plaster have been put on too tight, these are all factors which may require compensation.
If a loved one or a relative has been in pain as a result of plaster sores or pressure sores which weren’t checked properly, then you should seek the advice of a medical negligence solicitor who can assess your claim and work with you to ensure you receive compensation.
Pressure sore injury claims – 2 recent successful cases
Below you’ll find just a couple of the recent successful claims we have made in relation to pressure ulcers. These, like most other medical negligence cases, are contested and medically complex – requiring the kind of specialist advice our medical negligence team can provide.
(1) Our client – a 35-year-old man suffering from Multiple Sclerosis. He receives a wheelchair and cushion from the wheelchair service and then receives a new chair which is fitted with the wrong cushion. This might sound unimportant, but to someone in his condition it was critical. As a result of that error, our client developed a grade 1 pressure sore, which was identified by his GP who referred him on to the District Nurses. Unfortunately this particular District Nursing service was appalling. Incorrect dressings were used and there was no involvement from the specialist tissue viability nurse.
Tragically our Client went on to develop, as a direct result of these errors, a much more serious stage 4 pressure sore and had to take full bed rest. The sore failed to heal and, as a result, our client had to go through totally unnecessary plastic surgery.
Result – we won him compensation of £43,000
(2) Our client -a 60 year old man who had surgery to repair an aortic anyerusm [a swelling of the main blood vessel leading away from the heart]. As a non–negligent complication of that procedure he is rendered L3/4 paraplegic. Our client then had to undergo surgery to stabilise his spine. He was admitted to a ward where the tissue viability care was, sadly, poor. He was then discharged from hospital with a grade 4 pressure sore. The district nurses were unable to heal this pressure sore, which then became infected.
This had a huge impact on our client. As a direct result, he was no longer able to sit out in his wheelchair and as a result his quality of life became significantly worse. What’s worse, our client then had to undergo plastic surgery on the pressure sore, which failed to heal the wound. He develops osteomyelitis, an extremely serious infection of the bone – and tragically this eventually required the removal of part of his pelvis. Unsurprisingly this has significantly restricted his remaining ability, and as a result our client requires substantially more care than before – £350,000.
Result – we won him compensation of £43,000
Thinking of making an Pressure Sore Compensation Claim?
If you or a loved one have been the victim of pressure sores, through medical negligence, you will need specialist legal advice. When it comes to pressure sores, it’s particularly important to investigate any medical negligence claim while the details are fresh in your mind.
So don’t delay – contact us today for FREE phone advice and a FREE first appointment with our expert Medical Negligence Solicitors.
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