If you find yourself in a hospital’s inpatient facilities, you will likely spend a lot of time in bed or in a wheelchair. Spending your days just lying or sitting down doesn’t sound too bad, but the truth is that doing so for too long can lead to bedsores.
Healthcare staff is supposed to help prevent the formation of bedsores in patients, but should you develop ulcers, can you hold the attending medical staff responsible?
What exactly are bedsores?
Bedsores, also called pressure ulcers, result from constant pressure on the skin, such as when sitting or lying down. They typically form on body parts where skin covers particularly bony areas, such as the ankles, heels, hips, and tailbone. Pressure cuts off blood flow into the affected region, and if left for two to three hours, it could turn red and then purple.
Patients with medical conditions that limit their capability to change their position – such as those with broken bones – are the most at risk of bedsores. Also, unconscious patients are at high risk.
Can bedsores lead to medical complications?
Untreated bedsores can lead to further complications for a patient. The affected skin can break open and turn into a wound which can take months or even years to heal. Left undressed, the wounds also expose the patient to infection.
Can bedsores be grounds for medical malpractice?
In a word, yes. Healthcare professionals can be held responsible for bedsores you might develop, as it is the role of doctors and nurses to help the patient turn and reposition on the bed to prevent them. Healthcare staff must also provide padding or pillows to relieve pressure on the skin.
Getting bedsores while being treated for another ailment only adds to the pain and other complications you might be experiencing as an inpatient. Don’t wait for a sore to develop; don’t hesitate to inform the attending medical staff that you feel uncomfortable and need some relief.