Bedsores are wounds to the skin and underlying tissue that can develop in a short period of time when there is elongated pressure on the skin. These sores are often referred to as pressure sores or ulcers and they typically develop on the more bony areas of the body including the back of the head, hips, buttocks, shoulder blades, spine, heels or ankles. These injuries are most common with elderly patients or patients that have limited capability of changing positions in a bed or wheelchair. Bed sores can be difficult to treat; however, there are certain helpful tips and strategies that can help prevent the formation of bed sores.
According to the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel, there are exactly four stages in the severity of bed sores and they can be detected early on. In stage one, the skin becomes irritated with constant pressure but it is still intact. Signs of this stage are noticeable by the slight redness of color, variance in temperature in comparison with surrounding skin, and it is somewhat painful to the touch. Patients with darker skin will notice that the irritated areas with appear purple or bluish.
Stage two of bed sore formation is when an open wound will begin to appear. The patient will develop a pressure ulcer which appears to be in the shape of a crater. This means that the outer epidermis layer of skin and underlying layers have been damaged. Some ulcers look more like fluid-filled blisters that have a pink-red tint to them.
In stage three of this injury, the patient's ulcer will start to expose some layers of fat tissue and the bottom of the wound will have a yellow tint to it- this means the tissue is dead. Lastly, in stage four, the wound will begin to expose deeper layers such as muscles, tendons or even bone. The color of the infected area will have a darker tone and the tissue may even appear crusty.
When a patient is suffering from a serious injury and has limited mobility, the medical personnel should be constantly monitoring and inspecting their skin to ensure that bed sores are not forming. For elderly patients, if they are not able to reposition themselves you need to be informed of the signs to look for and help get them immediate attention if sores do appear. Be on the lookout for fever, infection, foul smell from a sore, rise in temperature and redness of the skin and any drainage.
If your loved ones has been neglected in a hospital or elder care facility and has developed bed sores, you may have a valid medical malpractice claim on your hands. Contact an Atlanta medical malpractice attorney at the firm today to discuss your case.