Understanding Pressure Ulcers

Pressure ulcers, more commonly known as bed sores, are an early red flag that your loved one is being neglected. They are easy to prevent, requiring just a moderate degree of intervention from the care provider, but if left untreated can become incredibly serious, and in the most severe instances lead to death.

Before we go any further, here are the main things you need to look out for when it comes to catching bed sores early. If you notice someone close to you is showing these signs, it may be that they are being neglected. In the first instance, you must raise it with the care provider. If they are dismissive, this is a major red flag, and you should strongly consider moving your loved one to another home.

  • Unusual redness in areas that would be in frequent contact with surfaces, such as the shoulders and the heels
  • Unexpected pain in areas that would be in frequent contact with surfaces, usually accompanied by the redness mentioned above
  • Your family member is lying in the same position every time you visit. Closely monitor how they are lying each time you see them; record or even photograph your observations if you need to, particularly if the other two signs are present

Be wary of care providers that try to deflectdismiss, or downplay the severity of your loved one’s pressure ulcers. A trustworthy care provider will do their utmost to minimise the risk of bed sores developing, and in the case that they do develop, administer the appropriate treatment to prevent the ulcers from worsening. They will also take bed sores very seriously.

Remember: bed sores are a major red flag that your loved one is being neglected, as with proper care and attention, there is no reason they should develop.

Case Focus: Brian

Brian, who resided out of state, was 53 when he suffered the catastrophic brain hemorrhage that rendered him unconscious and on artificial support for the rest of his life. He was also terminally ill with AIDS. His family relocated him to a nursing home in New York, where they believed he would receive the level of care and attention that an individual in his situation requires.

Early on, Brian’s family noticed he was developing bed sores on his head, body, and limbs. When they raised their concerns with the home’s faculty, they tried to pass the blame by arguing that the ulcers were pre-existing, and that in any case, Brian was not experiencing any pain or discomfort, so it didn’t really matter anyway.

Brian’s family were proactive in recognizing that the home and their sister hospital were both deflecting the blame to somebody else and downplaying the severity of his bed sores. But they couldn’t fight them alone. They needed the help of a law firm with the expertise and the dedication required to take on the Nursing Care Industry, and win.

That was when they sought our counsel.

Through an exhaustive review of thousands of pages of medical records, our unrelenting team were able to prove that Brian was expressing a pain response when his ulcers were examined. We demonstrated categorically that Brian was suffering because the care home were negligent in their obligation to properly look after him. Armed with this knowledge, we went to battle.

The care home responded by denying their accountability on the grounds that every other facility the family had contacted declined to admit their loved on. This attitude of “you don’t have a choice, so deal with how we administer our care” is very typical of neglectful care homes, and we weren’t buying it. Their attitude should have been, “here we have a very ill man, with serious comorbidities that both exacerbate the development of bed sores and prevent their healing. We should be doing everything in our power to mitigate this man’s suffering, and listen to the concerns raised by his family.”

We were able to prove that this care home was indeed responsible for the pressure ulcers that JB had developed, even in the face of their steadfast denial of abuse and neglect. We successfully held an uncaring facility to account for their lack of adequate care, and in doing so secured a remedy of $175,000 for Brian’s family to properly help him with the end of his life, pay for a proper funeral, and with an acknowledge of the harm caused to him.

How Pressure Ulcers Develop

Pressure ulcers, also commonly referred to as bedsore or pressure wounds, as the name implies develop because of a pressure to the skin. Prolonged pressure is rarely acceptable in a professional setting. This demonstrates a lack of care by the facility. The most common reason pressure ulcers occur in nursing homes is because of understaffing. There is no excuse for a facility not having sufficient staff.

Other common reasons are a failure to have proper oversight of staff, training of staff, bad nutrition and hygiene, and poor record keeping. This happens when ownership and management cut corners. Rather than act responsibility, they look to maximize profits. New York, inexplicably and inexcusably, in 2011 was found to rank last in holding nursing homes accountable for substandard care and neglect.

By standing up and speaking out, your voice sends a positive and powerful message that you will not tolerate this conduct for your loved one or for others.

“Words really can’t express our gratitude for ‘the battle’ that you fought for us!! Your kindness, patience, caring and generosity are so appreciated, you went beyond and back for us.”

Dec 31, 2013 | Personal Injury Client | New York City, NY
Client’s rating: 5 of 5

Case Focus: Jemele

Our client was born with a condition that made her a quadriplegic. Her family, good and decent people, cared for her every need.

When her father became older and when the time called for her sibling to begin a life of her own, Jemele was placed into a group home.

Jemele is an exceptional person. She communicates with her eyes and her tongue, as she cannot use her arms and legs, and cannot speak. However, she has a zest for life. She regularly goes to amusement parks and loves going to rock concerts.

Shortly after she became a resident of this group home, she suffered a very bad bedsore.

The wound occurred because the home did not properly supervise staff, who were not regularly changed position. Because of this, she had various debridement – procedures to remove bad skin to try to promote the growth of healthy skin.

We sued on her behalf. The facility denied that they did anything wrong, and in fact blamed Jemele and her family claiming that she did not listen and that her family did not provide proper home care during a brief stay with them.

Our research and litigation techniques helped proof our position; that the facility failed her. A settlement was reached that provided satisfaction for our client and helped with her long-term need.

Experienced Bedsores Pressure Ulcer Attorney

If you have questions about bedsores or pressure ulcers, please call us toll free at 888.MY 911 LAW (888-699-1152) for a free and confidential consultation. You may also contact us by filing out our online form.

Our law firm is led by New York State injury attorney Jeffrey M. Adams, who has dedicated his legal practice to protecting and promoting the rights of injured individuals.

For over a quarter of a century, Mr. Adams has represented victims of nursing home abuse and neglect, personal injury accidents and families of wrongful death victims. His extensive experience enables him to quickly and effectively evaluate cases to determine their merit. Known throughout the legal community and insurance industry as a straight shooter, Mr. Adams provides honest case appraisals and educates his clients about their cases, enabling them to make informed decisions.

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    Adams Law Firm, P.C

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