Can My Elderly Parent Sue for Bed Sores?

Yes, your parent can sue for bed sores, and the claim would be for hospital malpractice or nursing home negligence. To prove a malpractice case, our lawyers will need to prove negligence on the part of the the hospital or nursing home.

Your parent’s lawsuit can include amounts for pain and suffering, emotional distress and other damages.

Complications

Bed sores, also called pressure ulcers, can cause serious complications, the severity of which will affect the amount of money damages recoverable. A pressure ulcer infection can cause the following:

  • Cellulitis. An infection of the skin’s connective tissue, cellulitis can lead to sepsis and meningitis.
  • Osteomyelitis. An invection of the bones, Osteomyelitis happens when the infection burrows into the bones.
  • Septic or Infectious Arthritis: A joint infection, septic or infectious arthritis can damage cartilage and tissue.
  • Sepsis. One of the most serious complications of a pressure ulcer, sepsis is an infection of the blood that can spread throughout the body. It can cause shock, organ failure and death.
  • Meningitis. One of the most serious complications of a pressure ulcer, meningitis is an infection of the meninges, the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord, and the related fluids.
  • Amputation. If pressure ulcers are not treated, the dead flesh may have to be removed, which may require amputation.

Causes

Bed sores, also called pressure sores or pressure ulcers, happen when the weight of the body presses the blood out of an area long enough to deprive the tissues of their blood supply, damaging the skin and tissue.  When the tissue dies, treatment may require the affected area to be surgically removed, which may involve amputation.

These can happen when a patient is in one position too long, whether in bed or sitting in a chair or wheel chair.

The following make the body more susceptible to bed sores:

  • Friction. The friction that occurs when a hospital or nursing home patient is turned, lifted, or pushed up when a bed is raised too rapidly can damage the skin.
  • Shear.  If the patient slides down in a bed or chair, is lifted inappropriately or is not positioned correctly, the skin may move in one direction as the bone moves in another.  This is called shear, and it damages skin cells and blood vessels.
  • Dampness.  The dampness from incontinence and perspiration can soften the skin.  In the case of incontinence, the urine and bowel movement can also promote infection.

Areas of the Body Susceptible to Pressure Ulcers

  • Tail bone area
  • Spine
  • Hips
  • Heels
  • Shoulder blades
  • Elbows
  • Ankles