Atlanta Pressure Ulcer Lawyers
Pressure Ulcer Lawsuits in Georgia
Hospitals, nursing homes, and other medical care facilities have a responsibility to prevent new injuries from occurring while a patient is in their care, and to prevent injuries that the patient already has from getting worse. Pressure ulcers, also referred to as bedsores, pressure sores, pressure injuries, or decubitus ulcers, are common injuries for patients who are bedridden, confined to wheelchairs, or unable to change positions.
Because pressure ulcers are preventable and often the result of neglect, they are a common cause of medical malpractice lawsuits. If you have a loved one who developed a serious pressure ulcer while being treated in a medical care facility, you may have grounds for a civil lawsuit. To find out more about your legal rights and options, contact the experienced Atlanta medical malpractice attorneys at Grant Law Office. Dial (866) 249-5513 or local (404) 995-3955 for a free case evaluation.
What Causes Pressure Ulcers?
Pressure ulcers occur when there is prolonged pressure between the bone and the surface of the skin. This cuts off blood flow, which results in tissue damage. Places on the body where pressure ulcers commonly occur include the elbows, knees, ankles, back of the shoulders, heels, hips, back of the head, sacrum, and tailbone. Conditions like malnutrition, diabetes, and incontinence can make a patient more prone to pressure ulcers.
If not treated, pressure ulcers will only get worse, and can eventually become infected. Thousands of patients die each year from pressure-ulcer-related causes.
Stages of Pressure Ulcers
Pressure ulcers are rated in terms of severity, from the initial "Stage 1" to the most advanced and harmful "Stage 4."
- Stage 1 pressure ulcers only affect the top layer of skin, and are characterized by redness, soreness, and tenderness, and may be warmer to the touch than the surrounding skin. Stage 1 pressure ulcers may be harder to detect in patients with darker skin.
- Stage 2 pressure ulcers are characterized by shallow, open ulcers where the top layer of the skin, the epidermis, is completely missing and the second layer of skin, the dermis, has been penetrated and exposed.
- In Stage 3 pressure ulcers, both the epidermis and dermis have fully dissolved, and the subcutaneous layer of fat beneath the skin has been penetrated and exposed.
- In Stage 4 pressure ulcers, the subcutaneous layer of fat has been dissolved, and bone, tendon, or muscle has been exposed. Stage 4 pressure ulcers are the most vulnerable to severe infection.
How to Prevent Pressure Ulcers
The best way to prevent pressure ulcers is by changing the position of a patient at regular intervals. It is recommended that a patient’s position be changed every two hours. Keeping a patient dry can also reduce the risk of pressure ulcers. So can ensuring that patients have adequate nutrition. Incontinent patients need to be bathed and have their bedclothes cleaned regularly to prevent pressure ulcers.
In hospital or nursing home care, the number one reason a patient develops pressure ulcers is because of neglect. This is completely unacceptable. Not only is neglect abuse, but it violates the facility’s duty of care.
If you have a loved one who developed serious pressure ulcers in a medical or long-term care facility, you have the right to demand compensation. To find out more about your legal options, contact the experienced medical and nursing home malpractice attorneys at Atlanta’s Grant Law Office. Call (866) 249-5513 or (404) 995-3955 for a free consultation.