September 07, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Texas personal injury law: the scourge of bedsores---
Article provided by Gilde Law Firm
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In the news this summer is the tragic story of elderly Alzheimer's patient Joyce Boice who died in an assisted living facility from complications of bedsores. A California jury awarded her family $23 million in their lawsuit for her wrongful death and negligent care, which was affirmed by a judge on appeal who called Boice's care "reprehensible."
In another well known case, actor Christopher Reeve of Superman fame, a quadriplegic after a horse-riding accident, passed away in 2004 at only age 52 after developing a systemic infection from a pressure ulcer that eventually caused his heart to fail.
"Bedsores" don't sound very serious, but in fact these wounds can be fatal for the elderly and disabled who are confined to their beds or wheelchairs. Also called pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers, bedsores develop when a patient is unable to change positions normally while at rest, causing too much pressure on specific areas of the body. Pressure sores also develop from friction when the body slides heavily over a surface.
Not surprisingly, the usual victims are the elderly in nursing homes and other care facilities, and people with paralysis.
The risk of bedsores can be reduced greatly by proper medical care that includes regular repositioning to prevent the weight of a patient from being borne on pressure points, reducing circulation and killing the skin. Other preventative measures are proper nutrition, especially adequate protein, and exercise.
Once a pressure ulcer appears, appropriate medical treatment must be quickly and consistently applied and every effort must be made to prevent infection. Bedsores can be difficult to heal, especially at advanced stages. They are classified into four stages:
-Stage I: The sore appears as a patch of red, blue or purple skin, sometimes flaky or itchy.
-Stage II: Skin layers start to disappear and the wound becomes gaping and discolored.
-Stage III: The sore becomes crater shaped and skin tissue is gone all the way to the muscle.
-Stage IV: At this level a bedsore can cause death from dangerous infection and may have extensively damaged skin, muscle, bone and more. Even cancer is possible in the affected area.
Violating the duty of care
It is the legal duty of all Texas medical personnel and other staff of nursing homes and other care facilities to provide reasonable care of patients to prevent bedsores and to properly treat them. Accepted care practices include daily skin inspection, use of specially designed pads and mattresses, wound cleansing and care, regular repositioning, medication for infection and pain, surgery and more, depending on the situation.
If you or a loved one suffers from bedsores and you believe negligent care contributed to their development or worsening, speak with an experienced Texas elder care attorney about your legal rights and potential legal remedies like a personal injury or medical malpractice lawsuit. In an extreme case when a pressure ulcer has caused death, the victim's family should explore the feasibility of a wrongful death suit.
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