Pressure sores is a condition that can arise due to lack of blood flow, usually due to immobility. This can be due to being bedbound, or from being in a wheelchair. This can be prevented in a lot of cases by simply ensuring the patient is being moved positions and that cleanliness is upheld to high standards. It can range from uncomfortable and painful to life threatening or fatal. Some of the people most at risk of pressure sores, are those of an advanced age (over 75), overweight people, smokers, people with a very low BMI and those with pre-existing osteo issues. Our team of medical negligence solicitors are on hand to
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In order to raise a claim for negligent treatment leading too, or failure to prevent pressure sores, the standard 3 year time frame would apply. Where the patient dies due to such complications, their spouse or immediate family can claim within 3 years of their death. A lot of claims for pressure sores are taken on a no win, no fee basis. It isn’t generally the sores themselves that cause long term health issues.
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The initial sores can be exasperated by outside factors, which are often preventable with due care and attention. The main causes of sores are:
Pressure: this happens when a patient is sitting or lying in the one position for extended periods of time and thus starving the blood vessels and tissues of the oxygen needed to remain healthy. This can lead to painful inflammation and in extreme cases can cause necrosis. Necrosis is when the cells within the tissue dies prematurely and can cause the tissue and the skin to rot. This can lead to amputation, severe loss of tissue due to debridement or death.
Friction or shearing: Friction can occur when a patient is being moved, but enough care is not taken to ensure that they are not rubbing too much when being transferred by stretcher or by sheets to other beds or positions. It can also happen by accident when the patient is shifting their own position by their elbows etc. Shearing is where the patients’ skin is separated from their tissues. This can be as a result of, again, shifting position on ones’ own, or perhaps from shifting in a wheelchair. This category is less likely to be as a result of negligence, this does however still sometimes occur.
Moisture: Where a pressure sore is perhaps beginning, or a small one is already present, moisture can make this bigger and cause it to become much more serious. This can happen as a result of urine, feces, sweat or leakage from a healing wound. It can sometimes be unavoidable that moisture will be present but ensuring catheters and wound drainage tubes or dressings are kept clean and in working order at all times can keep it to a minimum. It can also be beneficial to regulate the patients’ body temperature to minimise perspiration.
It is often the case that patients at risk of pressure sores are already unwell or vulnerable. It is especially important for medical practitioners to ensure that all possible precautions are taken to prevent further suffering.
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