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Pressure sore claims
The UK is known to have one of the highest standards of healthcare, both for patients in hospitals for extended periods and those living in care homes. However, sadly, pressure sore claims are seen to be very common.
If you are admitted to a hospital, it is not wrong to naturally expect a high standard of care and treatment. Nevertheless, things don’t always go as planned due to negligent actions, pressure sores and bed-sores. Pressure sores usually happen when a patient is in the same position for a long period of time, For example, a person who is bedridden or confined to a wheelchair.
While there are certain circumstances where the development of pressure sores cannot be avoided, in most scenarios effective care can prevent them from becoming an issue. Our experienced solicitors are on hand to guide you through the pressure sore claims process, ensuring you are well informed and given the very best chance of a desired outcome.
What Causes Pressure Sores?
Pressure sores or bedsore can develop if a person spends a long period of time in the same position. Also known as pressure ulcers, these sores form due to lasting pressure on specific areas of the body. They can develop anywhere, but the bony parts of the elbow, knees, sacrum, heels, tailbone, and ankles are more susceptible.
When Pressure sores form, if the pressure is not relieved by moving the patient, the lack of blood can kill the skin. In turn, the blood cell dies, causing a wound to open and allow infection to enter the body. Pressure sores can also form from an
incorrectly applied plaster cast. The sores are treatable, although full healing is not always possible. Without treatment, the sores can eventually lead to potentially fatal complications.
There are various pressure sore stages. Frequently changing positions can help and keep new ones from forming. When sores are still in their early stages, people may be able to treat them at home. However, healthcare professionals are needed to attend to more severe pressure sores. There are 4 grades of pressure sores, with Grade 1 pressure sore being the least harmful and Grade 4 pressure sore representing the most high-risk:
Pressure Sore Grading
Orthopaedic negligence is that a form of medical negligence that occurs when preventable mistakes are made by an orthopaedic doctor which causes serious harm or injury to a patient. A patient is said to be a victim of orthopaedic negligence if they possess any of the following:
- Grade 1 pressure sore: This is the mildest grade. These pressure sores only affect the upper layer of your skin. Pain, burning and itching are common symptoms. The sport may also feel different from the surrounding skin it might appear firmer softer, warmer or cooler. You may also notice a red area on your skin. If you have darker skin, the discoloured area may be harder to see. The spot doesn’t get lighter when you press on it, or even 10 to30 minutes after you stop pressing. This means less blood is getting to this area.
- Grade 2 pressure sore: This occurs when the sores form deeper below the surface of the skin. The skin is broken and has an open wound or looks like a pus-filled blister.
- Grade 3 pressures sore: These sores have passed through the second layer of the skin into the fat tissue. The sore looks like a crater and may show signs of infection red edges, pus, odour, heat, and or drainage. Furthermore, if the area in or around the sore is black then this is a sign of dead tissue.
- Grade 4 pressures sore: These sores are the most serious. Some may even affect the muscles and ligaments. They are quite large in size, The skin has turned black and shows signs of infection like red edges, pus, odour, heat and drainage. You may even be able to see tendons muscles and bone.
In addition to these four grades of pressure sores, there are two others:- Unstageable and Suspected Deep Tissue Injury. The Unstageable grade simply means a situation when you cannot see the bottom of the sore, so do not know how deep it is. Your doctor can only grade it once it is cleaned out. The Suspected Deep Tissue Injury grade is when the surface of the skin looks like grade 1 or 2 pressure sore, but underneath the surface look like grade 3 or 4 pressure sores.
How to treat pressure sores?
Due to the different grades of pressure sores, the treatment for pressure sores also vary.
For grade 1 pressure sores what you need to do is stay off the area and remove all pressure, keep the area clean and dry also ensure to eat adequate calories high in protein, vitamins (especially A and C) and minerals ( especially iron and zinc). Make sure to drink more water and find and remove the possible causes of the pressure sores. Inspect the area at least twice a day and call your healthcare provider if it has not gone away in 2-3 days. The healing time for grade 1 pressure sores are usually three days if all pressure is taken off the site.
Grade 2 pressure sores are a little complicated than grade 1 and require more care. For treatment of grade 2 pressure sores you must follow the same steps listed for grade 1 pressure sores and also add a few extra tips like cleaning the wound with a saltwater solution and dry it gently. It may hurt, so ask your doctor if you should take painkillers 30 to 60 minutes before cleaning. Keep the sore covered with a see-through pressure sore dressing or moist gauze. If you see signs of infection such as pus fever or redness, inform your doctor. The recovery time for grade 2 pressure sores is can be between 3 days and 3 weeks.
The treatment of grade 3 pressure sores will need much more care. You will need to talk to your doctor; they may remove any dead tissue and prescribe antibiotics to fight infection. You may also be required to get a special mattress. The healing time for grade 3 pressure sores is can be between to 4 months to heal.
If you have a grade 4 pressure sore, you will need to consult your healthcare provider right away. Surgery is frequently required for this type of wound in which the healing time can range from is usually from 3 months to two years.
There are possible complications that may result from pressure sores, some of these include amputations, prolonged bed rest that can keep you out of work, school or social activities for months, Autonomic Dysreflexia, an infection that can spread to the blood, heart and even bone. Pressure sores could be life threatening especially due to being in a less active state. Furthermore, you would be at a higher risk of respiratory problems or a urinary tract infection and treatment can be very costly. Therefore, pressure sores should be prevented at all costs.
Infection is one of the most serious risks associated with pressure sores as often develop in areas of the skin that are in close proximity to the bone, and bone infection is a significant concern following grade 3 and grade 4 pressure sores. These can be extremely dangerous depending on the nature of the infection and may require the bone or joint to be surgically removed.
Another risk to be wary of is septicaemia or blood poisoning. This is where the infection in pressure sore spreads through the bloodstream into other organs which in serious cases can lead to a large drop in blood pressure, known as septic shock, which can be fatal. Other potentially dangerous consequences of pressure sores include cellulitis, necrotising fasciitis, gas gangrene, damage to heels and development of extensive necrotic tissues which may require amputation to remove the life-threatening infections. As mentioned, pressure sores are not something to be taken lightly hence why we take negligence claims of this nature as seriously.
Prevention of Pressure Sores
As in most cases pressure sores are entirely preventable when the best medical practices are applied. In most cases, the best practice is followed and patients avoid developing pressure sores. However, there are precautions that healthcare providers might take to reduce the risk of patients developing pressure sores. Some of these steps include:
Regularly changing the position of a patient, particularly if they are unable to do this themselves, due to their condition.
Providing the patient with a pressure-relieving mattress, which is a special air-filled to relieve pressure on particular areas of the body (these can be delivered to the patients home when they are discharged from the hospital)
Inflatable pressure- relief ring cushion for wheelchair users or people that would be sitting down for extended periods of time.
Ensuring the patient maintains a balanced diet and receives plenty of fluids.
Frequently checking and monitoring the patient’s skin, to identify any pressure sores at an early stage.
However, it is important to note that in some circumstances, despite the best medical care available, a pressure sore may occur. If a patient suffers from irreversible tissue hypoxia, where the tissue is deprived of adequate oxygen, this will make them extremely susceptible to these even when the best possible care is delivered. Furthermore in situations where the risks of moving the patient outweigh those of developing bedsores, such as if they are systemically unwell, then a nurse may not be viewed as negligent for pressure sores developing in these instances. However, through good nursing care, these conditions can often be avoided altogether, and therefore remove the risk of any harm coming to the patient or the need for a claim for pressure sore negligence.
Examples of Pressure sore negligence
In the majority of cases, pressure sores are attributed to substandard or negligent care. This could be as a result of:
- Failure to ascertain a patient’s Waterlow score
- A failure to properly execute the prevention plan suggested by the patient’s Waterlow score
- Generally inattentive or negligent care by not monitoring or checking the patient for signs of bedsores especially during cases of prolonged stay in the hospital
- Not correctly diagnosing symptoms of pressure sores early enough
At nhsnegligenceclaim.com, we work hand in hand with care experts, comprehensively retracing the treatment that took place, to provide an accurate assessment as well as develop a strong case for clients. As soon as contact is made, we are there to guide you through the process of making a pressure sore claim, with a firm focus on ensuring compensation and justice is received.
Can you sue for bed sores in the UK?
The most effective way to prevent pressure sores from developing is to ensure that immobile patients are regularly moved. This will relieve the pressure on the area of the skin. This can be done through manual moving or the use of an automatic bed.
This might sound like a simple preventative measure, but it is highly effective. Sadly, this routine measure is not always followed. This can be especially true of vulnerable individuals. Regular checks often involve increased manpower, and as the NHS struggles with understaffing, the problem seems to be getting worse.
If this simple measure has not been followed, you or your loved one may have been the victim of medical negligence.
Making a Pressure Sore Negligence Claim
If you or a loved one has suffered from bedsores due to a hospital stay and the care they have received, then it’s very likely an expert solicitor will be able to help you make a compensation claim.
In most cases, you have three years to start a case, starting from when your bedsores first developed so it is important to get in touch with a solicitor as soon as possible. In a situation where the mental capacity of the patient is limited, you might have more time to pursue your claim.
At nhsnegligenceclaim.com, our priority is to answer your question and help determine whether your claim is worth pursuing or not. Our medical negligence injury solicitors will look at your case critically, taking into consideration all factors and evidence surrounding your claim. These may include physical pain and suffering, expenses (medical treatment, transport and accommodation costs) as well as loss of earnings due to injury.
Pressure Sore compensation claim
Claimants of pressure sores compensation are not lucky to have been awarded a significant sum of money. In fact, compensation is a legal and financial recognition that injustice has been done, because a trusted medical professional has made a mistake or has failed in their duty of care.
This is because individuals who have suffered from pressure sores succumb develop life-altering injuries on certain areas of their skin. Pressure sore compensation from negligence claims and clinical negligence can cover expenses for:
- Medical expenses including physiotherapy and occupational therapy
- The support of speech and language therapist
- Loss of earnings if the patient has reduced their working hours or stop work to become their child’s carer
- Mobility aids and cost of adapting their homes to suit their needs with things such as pressure sore cushions.
Pressure sore, compensation is carefully calculated to ensure that victims can afford all the specialist care and support they need to live a full and enjoyable.
The process of claiming compensation for pressure sores is the same as any other claim. There are four criteria that need to be met for a claim to have legal grounds. You will have to show that
- You received negligent care through failings by a professional or organisation to appropriately identify and manage risks, or the resulting sores were left untreated.
- The negligence caused physical harm to the victim be it yourself or a loved one.
- When compared to the standard of care provided by a similar group of professionals, the other party acted in a way that fell below the acceptable standard.
- The claim is made before the child turns 21 years old. A parent or guardian can start a claim on behalf of their child until that child turns 18.
How Much Compensation Can I Expect for Pressure Sore Claims?
Pressure sores differ in severity and can be the root cause of further health complications, including severe pain and suffering, amputation, and in some cases death. Therefore, there is no fixed compensation amount for pressure sore claims that resulted from medical negligence.
If you are a victim, the compensation you are awarded generally depends on the severity of your injury as well as the level of impact the injury has had on your life. Some of the considerations for pressure sore payouts include:
Medical expenses: Pressure sore claims attract compensation for out of pocket medical expenses if you have incurred one.
Pain and suffering: The pain and suffering -whether physical or psychological – you have suffered as a result of pressure claim may be compensated for.
Care costs: If you have had to hire a professional caregiver at any point in time, you may be entitled to compensation.
Other possible pressure sore claims you can make are for the loss of earnings. You are entitled to compensation if your pressure sore incident has caused you to quit work for a period or take a pay cut.
How can we help
At nhsnegligenceclaim.com, our medical negligence solicitorswho are experienced in making medical negligence claims are always on hand to guide you with your pressure sore claim.
Such legal assistance comes with zero risks as we offer services based on a No Win No Fee agreement. This arrangement provides financial protection from any risks associated with making a claim. Throughout your claim, you are not obligated to pay any legal fees. You only pay a success fee when you have been awarded compensation.
Q: How long does it take for a pressure sore to heal?
If pressure sore is identified and treated early, it could take only a few days to show signs of healing. However, in cases where the sore has been left too long, unattended leading to more severe wounds, it may take two to four weeks of treatment to see signs of healing.
Q: What you need to know about pressure sore claims?
Sometimes pressure sores are unpreventable due to a patient’s condition and in this case, pressure sores claims are invalid. Conversely, in situations where pressure sores can be attributed to negligent care, you may be entitled to a care. However, you will need to help of an experienced medical negligence solicitor to be help you make a successful compensation claim for your sore.
Q: Should pressure sores be covered?
Yes, depending on the stage, it may be advisable to cover pressure sores. For example, for grade 1 pressure sore , mere cleaning and dressing with water and mild soap will do. For grade 2 with open sores, you can cover the sore with bandages or gauze.