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Bedsores Attorney in Omaha

Did You Suffer Bedsores at a Nursing Home in Nebraska?

Bedsores, also known as pressure sores or pressure ulcers, are a common problem among hospital and nursing home patients. Professional caregivers should know about the dangers of bedsores developing, especially on patients with limited mobility, and need to take steps to prevent them. Oftentimes, elderly patients enter a nursing home with bedsores already forming, and the facility's staff may be responsible for treating these sores and preventing them from getting worse.

If you have noticed bedsores on your elderly family member at a nursing home or other facility, call our Omaha nursing home neglect attorney at Bottlinger Law L.L.C. for a free consultation. It may be possible that your family member’s caregivers or facility are partially liable for any bedsore-related injury suffered.

What Are Bedsores?

Bedsores are a type of wound that occurs due to constant pressure being placed on a certain region of a person's body. People lying on their back, for example, have pressure from their bones weighing down on the muscles and skin underneath them. Over time, this pressure causes a loss of blood flow and oxygen to the area, which results in damage to the skin and underlying tissue. Certain locations on a person's body are more likely to develop bedsores, particularly the shoulder blades, back or sides of the head, hip, lower back, tailbone, heels, ankles, and behind the knees.

There are four stages of bedsores that develop over time, progressing from one to the next if they are not properly treated. These are, in order of escalating seriousness:

  • Stage 1: This is a new bedsore that is just beginning to form and is not necessarily painful. The skin is not broken but appears red and usually warm or cool to the touch.
  • Stage 2: When the sore becomes an open wound in the skin. The outer layer of skin has been damaged or destroyed, and deeper layers may be damaged too.
  • Stage 3: A deepening of the bedsore where serious skin loss occurs. Fat or other tissue may be visible at this point, and the wound is infected.
  • Stage 4: At this point, tissue has been damaged and lost, including muscles and tendons. Bone might be visible through this type of sore.

The Pain and Long-Term Effects of Bedsores

Bedsores, or pressure ulcers, inflict significant physical and emotional anguish on sufferers. These wounds, caused by prolonged pressure on the skin, result in intense pain, discomfort, and compromised mobility. Left untreated, bedsores can lead to severe complications such:

  • Infections: Bedsores provide a breeding ground for bacteria, leading to localized infections (cellulitis) or more severe systemic infections (sepsis).
  • Tissue Necrosis: Prolonged pressure on tissues can cause tissue death (necrosis), leading to the formation of deep wounds and the need for surgical intervention.
  • Osteomyelitis: Infection can spread to the underlying bone, resulting in osteomyelitis, a serious condition that requires aggressive treatment with antibiotics and may necessitate surgery.
  • Septicemia: In severe cases, bacteria from bedsores can enter the bloodstream, causing septicemia (blood poisoning), which can be life-threatening if not promptly treated.
  • Contractures: Scar tissue formation and muscle atrophy around bed sores can lead to joint contractures, resulting in restricted movement and functional impairment.

Chronic sufferers may endure long-term consequences, including:

  • Chronic Pain: Even after healing, bedsores can cause ongoing discomfort and pain, impacting the individual’s quality of life.
  • Reduced Mobility: Severe bedsores can lead to muscle and tissue damage, resulting in decreased mobility and potential long-term disability.
  • Increased Risk of Recurrence: Once a person has developed bedsores, they are more susceptible to recurrence, especially if underlying health issues persist.
  • Psychological Impact: Bedsores can lead to emotional distress, depression, and anxiety due to their debilitating effects and prolonged healing process.
  • Compromised Immune Function: Chronic wounds like bedsores can weaken the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to infections and other health complications.

Emotionally, bedsores can evoke feelings of frustration, embarrassment, and depression due to their debilitating effects. Timely intervention, proper wound care, and preventive measures are crucial to mitigating the pain and long-term impact of bedsores.

Can Bedsores Be Treated or Prevented?

At early stages, bedsores can be treated, though it becomes much more difficult as bedsores worsen. Early-stage bedsores need to be treated and kept clean to prevent infection, while later stages can require surgical treatment and may take years to heal.

Prevention is the simplest way to deal with bedsores, and can be done by regularly repositioning and moving people who are in wheelchairs or confined to a bed. This relieves pressure at key locations and keeps bedsores from developing or worsening.

Taking Action: Steps to Protect Your Loved One in Omaha

To protect a loved one from suspected abuse or neglect in an Omaha nursing home, document any concerning signs or incidents and report them to the facility’s management and relevant authorities. Seek immediate medical attention for your loved one to address any injuries or health concerns. If necessary, consult with a reputable law firm experienced in nursing home abuse cases to initiate legal proceedings. Contact the firm promptly to discuss your situation, understand your legal options, and take decisive action to hold responsible parties accountable for their actions.

The Legal Implications

Nursing home residents have legal rights written to protect their safety, well-being, and quality of care. Nursing homes owe residents a duty of care, including adequate supervision, medical care, and protection from harm. Negligence in nursing home abuse cases can be established through various factors, such as staff negligence, inadequate training, understaffing, or failure to address resident complaints or concerns. Signs of negligence may include physical abuse, neglect, medication errors, or inadequate hygiene. When nursing homes breach their duty of care and residents suffer harm as a result, they can be held liable for damages.

Legal recourse may involve filing a civil lawsuit to seek compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and punitive damages. Additionally, regulatory agencies such as state health departments or adult protective services may investigate allegations of nursing home abuse and enforce corrective actions or sanctions against the facility. Understanding legal rights and avenues for recourse is crucial for protecting Omaha nursing home residents from abuse and holding negligent facilities accountable for their actions.

Compensation Available

The law recognizes that bedsores can be the result of wrongful conduct, justifying legal compensation to bedsore victims. Forms of compensation available in bedsore injury cases may include:

  • Medical Expenses: Compensation for all past, current, and future medical expenses related to the treatment of bedsores, including hospitalization, surgery, medication, and therapy.
  • Pain and Suffering: Damages awarded for the physical pain, emotional distress, and mental anguish experienced due to the bedsores and their treatment.
  • Loss of Consortium: Compensation for the loss of companionship, support, and intimacy suffered by the victim’s spouse or family members due to the effects of the bedsores.
  • Lost Wages: Reimbursement for the income lost by the victim as a result of their bedsores, including missed workdays, reduced work capacity, or inability to return to work.
  • Punitive Damages: Additional compensation awarded to punish the negligent party for their misconduct and deter similar behavior in the future, typically reserved for cases involving extreme negligence or intentional harm.

What Do I Do If My Loved One Has Bedsores?

If your loved one develops bedsores while in the care of a skilled nursing facility, it may be a sign of neglect by the nursing home staff. If you see signs of neglect, call our legal team at Bottlinger Law L.L.C. to discuss your case and potential legal options. For a free consultation, dial (402) 505-8234.

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