Medical Malpractice Cases and Severe Ulcers
By Younker Hyde Macfarlane on February 10, 2014
When patients are checked into a hospital for any length of time, or placed in a convalescent home, they depend on their caretakers to go about their duties conscientiously. Unfortunately, not all medical professionals fulfill their obligation to provide vigilant, competent care. As a result, patients can sustain injuries that could otherwise have been avoided.
Among the most common of these injuries that occur in hospital settings are decubitus ulcers, better known as pressure ulcers or bedsores. While some ulcers are unavoidable, many could have been prevented if patients had received the proper attention from their nurses, doctors, and other caregivers. At Younker Hyde Macfarlane, PLLC, serving communities throughout Utah including St. George, ulcers that occur in hospitals and other short- and long-term care facilities as a result of neglect can serve as the basis for medical malpractice claims. Our medical malpractice attorneys have extensive experience and success in handling cases arising from pressure ulcers, and we can provide you with outstanding representation if you or a member of your family has suffered such an injury.
What Are Pressure Ulcers?
Pressure ulcers generally occur when the skin is compressed between a bone and an outside surface for too long, usually because a person is unable to move on his or her own. Patients who are immobile need to be turned or otherwise repositioned regularly by medical staff. They must also be aided with their hygiene and nutritional needs. If they receive adequate care, even immobile patients are usually able to avoid pressure ulcers. On the other hand, patients who develop pressure ulcers that aren’t immediately treated become susceptible to sepsis (inflammation covering the entire body) and death.
Stages of Pressure Ulcers
Pressure ulcers are classified according to their severity. When they are caught in the earliest stage of their development, they are generally treatable, albeit extremely painful. The further these ulcers are allowed to progress, however, the more dangerous they become.
- Stage One: The skin becomes discolored, with the discoloration lasting for more than 30 minutes. While irritated, the skin is not broken.
- Stage Two: The skin becomes blistered and cracked, with a shallow but visible ulcer that may be draining.
- Stage Three: The upper layers of the skin are broken, and the ulcer extends down into the underlying layers of fat. Usually at this point, the ulcer is bleeding.
- Stage Four: The ulcer extends down into all of the layers of skin, leaving muscle and bone exposed.
Even a Stage One pressure ulcer is unforgiveable in a hospital setting. When hospital errors mount to the point that pressure ulcers pose a threat to a patient’s life, it is that much more inexcusable. If you or a member of your family has been allowed to develop pressure ulcers while in the care of medical professionals, you should consult an attorney.
Contact Our Medical Malpractice Lawyers
To learn more about medical malpractice litigation, or to arrange an evaluation of your pressure ulcer case, please contact Younker Hyde Macfarlane, PLLC today. We would be pleased to advise you of your legal rights and options.
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