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Are bedsores a sign of medical malpractice?

The elderly and patients with paralysis or other illnesses may not be able to move around as much as they once did. They may be bedbound or in a wheelchair for many hours a day. They might need help to roll over or move in any way.

Unfortunately, when one area of the body has pressure on it unrelentingly over many hours, a bedsore can develop. A bedsore is a type of pressure ulcer that should not happen if a patient is being cared for properly. This is because an immobile or bedridden person should be regularly moved and adjusted by the staff on a schedule. If they are not given good skin care or other supports, then they could develop this painful condition.

How long does it take for bedsores to develop?

Bedsores may develop in as little as two hours if the blood supply to one area of the body is cut off. For example, if a person’s wrist is lying across a metal bar on their bed for several hours without movement, then that area could, potentially, develop a pressure ulcer. Similarly, a patient left in a wheelchair without support for a few hours at a time may develop a pressure ulcer from the pressure on their knees or ankles.

When a bedsore develops, the skin becomes red, itchy and painful. It will turn purple as it worsens and eventually break open as it dies. Bedsores, when severe, may extend deep into the tissues of the body. The sore may eat through muscle and bone. Those with paralysis and a loss of feeling are more likely to develop these unknowingly.

Where are bedsores most likely to occur?

Bedsores are most likely on the:

  • Heels
  • Back of the head
  • Sides and backs of the knees
  • Buttocks
  • Hips
  • Tailbone
  • Shoulder blades

Fortunately, with movement, minor bedsores can usually recover without further treatment. Moderate-to-severe sores may require medical intervention.

If bedsores affect someone you love, it’s time to question if they’re a victim of medical neglect or abuse. There is no reason that a patient should suffer from sores. The staff should know what to look for and care for them with compassion. Failing to do so could lead to serious injuries and cause for a malpractice case.