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Pressure ulcers or bedsores (also known as decubitus ulcers) are considered “never events” by Medicare, meaning that other than in rare instances, they should not occur in the absence of neglect. Bedsores develop when a patient is left in one position for a protracted of time. They can be exacerbated by bacteria from unclean conditions, such as when the neglected elder is left in urine or feces. The sores tend to occur at “pressure” points, such as the lower back or buttocks (coccyx), heels, and back of the head.
There are four stages to bedsores:
- Stage 1: The area looks red and feels warm to the touch. Pressure sores only affect the upper layer of the skin. The skin in the area may be painful, burning, itching.
- Stage 2: The area looks more damaged and may have an open sore, scrape, or blister. The area is swollen, warm and/or red. There may be clear fluid or pus.
- Stage 3: The area has a crater-like appearance due to damage below the skin’s surface. The sore has gone into the fat tissue. It may have a bad odor and show signs of infection, and may require antibiotics and surgical debridement (removal of dead tissue).
- Stage 4: The area is severely damaged and a large wound is present. The sore is deep and you may be able to see bone and tendons. The wound needs immediate medical attention and most likely requires surgery.
While the number of patients with pressure ulcers have decreased, unfortunately they still occur too often elder abuse in nursing homes and other care facilities continue to increase. Millions of elder abuse cases are reported every year. Pressure ulcers – along with other signs – can point to elder abuse and neglect.
If someone you love is suffering from pressure ulcers, they may also be suffering from:
- Mental abuse
- Physical abuse
- Physical or emotional neglect
At Vaage Law, our founder, Attorney Robert Vaage, has more than 35 years of trial experience and has tried cases successfully to verdict more frequently than 95% of the civil trial attorneys in San Diego. Mr. Vaage was elected to the American Board of Trial Advocates, Southern California Super Lawyers®, Top 100 Trial Lawyers in America, and Best Lawyers in America. This just a testament to the level of care, experience and legal counsel you receive when you hire our San Diego elder abuse firm.