In Irish Hospitals and Nursing homes there continues to be thousands of people who suffer painful skin injuries known as bed sores. For those who are bed ridden due to illness, disability or old age, the hours spent in bed may cause these. There usually avoidable with proper medical care and monitoring and may be grounds for a medical negligence compensation claim.

What are pressure sores?

Pressure sores start as reddened areas of skin which feel tender to the touch. They often appear on the heels, ankles, spine, buttocks or shoulders of a person who has been lying in the same position for an extended period of time and also known as pressure ulcers, Ducubitus ulcers or bed sores.

As time goes by, the reddened areas of skin become more painful and may turn purple in colour. If the pressure continues to be applied, the skin and tissue will become damages and start to break down, creating a creator like sore which is open to infection.

The severity of pressure sores vary. They can be large or small in size and in very serious cases damage can be caused to the muscles, bones, joints or tendons.

There have been a number of published studies which reported on the incidence of pressure ulcers in Ireland. Data from these studies has shown the mean average rate is 11%. The highest figure 37% was seen in spinal cord injury services. One study from older person’s services noted a pressure ulcer prevalence rate of 9%. It is estimated that over 7000 people per year are affected by pressure ulcers. It is estimated that it costs over €100,000 to successfully treat one patient with a grade 4 pressure ulcer.

How are pressure sores caused?

When  a person has been in the same position for a long period of time, for example someone ill in bed the flow of blood is restricted to the areas with pressure applied to them and this causes a bed sore to start developing. In many cases it is thought that pressure sores could have been avoided by the person receiving better care. For example a bed ridden hospital patient should be turned regularly and provided with a special mattress to lie on. Dehydration and under nourishment can also contribute to bed sores so therefore, carers or nurses should ensure that vulnerable people have sufficient food and water.

Other factors such as unsanitary conditions and sweating can exacerbate bed sore issues so patients who are incontinent should be closely monitored. Anyone with a high BMI, recovering from major surgery or suffering from sensitivity or limited awareness are more likely to develop sores due to inability to move or reduce capacity.

How are pressure sores treated?

Where a bed sore has been allowed to form, treatment consists of dead tissue removal and a control of infection. Skin tissue requires vital nutrients and so patients diets are often altered to ensure an appropriate supply.

Also with any open wound infection is a risk. In the case of bed sores the complications can be increasingly dangerous as the wound may penetrate protective soft tissue. Sepsis is also a problem and in some problem Gangrene and even renal failure can occur.

Should I investigate a legal claim if I develop pressure sores?

If you believe that you or a Family member has developed pressure sores due to the negligence and breach of a Hospital, Nursing Home, Care Home or Carer you may be able to make a claim for damages which would cover the cost of any care you require in the future to treat the pressure sores and to compensate you for the injury caused to you.

How do I make a compensation claim?

If you or anyone you know has suffered from any form of medical or nursing home negligence telephone us now for a consultation.

There are strict time limits in place to make any injury claim. For further information contact Liam Moloney Solicitor today at 045-898000 or simply e-mail him directly at liammoloney@moloneysolicitors.ie for further advice.

We are experts in Bed Sore Compensation Claims

Moloney Solicitors are experts in all matters relating to medical negligence and would be able to advise you as to whether or not you have a valid claim for compensation.

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