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Colburn Law

Seattle Bedsores and Pressure Ulcer Lawyer

Our incapacitated loved ones require devoted, round-the-clock care. Unfortunately, they don’t always get the care they deserve. The National Council on Aging estimates that 5 million of our American elders are victims of abuse each year. There are several different forms of abuse, but neglect is one of the most common. Neglect becomes physical abuse when it leads to actual harm, which is what we see with pressure ulcers.

What Is a Pressure Ulcer?

You may know pressure ulcers as bed sores, a common name for essentially the same thing. These are a painful medical condition that can affect incapacitated people of all ages, genders, and ethnicities. Around 10% of nursing home residents will develop a bedsore in any given year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This means that pressure ulcers will affect up to 3 million people annually. Serious bedsores can even lead to death, and kill around 60,000 people annually.

The people at highest risk for pressure ulcers are those who face physical limitations. This includes wheelchair-bound individuals and those who must remain in bed for long periods of time.

What Causes Pressure Ulcers?

Bedsores result from a lack of blood flow. When the pressure of a patient’s bones against a surface cuts off blood flow, the surrounding tissues suffer from oxygen deprivation. Over time, this leads to tissue death and ulcers develop. Patients are most likely to develop pressure ulcers on the tailbone or around their hips, but they may also occur on their heels, ankles, or back.

These sores may develop over a matter of days, but are extremely difficult to treat. Healthcare providers are legally obligated to take reasonable steps to avoid the development of bedsores.

How Healthcare Providers Prevent Bedsores

Pressure ulcers vary in severity, and some of the most serious afflictions may never heal, even with treatment. Providers can take the following steps to prevent the occurrence of pressure ulcers:

  • Ensure adequate support for patients by turning them frequently and providing soft surfaces
  • Inspecting at-risk patients for the earliest signs of bedsores, including skin discoloration
  • Repositioning incapacitated patients in a variety of environments – for example, moving them from a wheelchair to a bed, from a bed to a bench outside for fresh air, etc.
  • Changing patient liners frequently if they suffer from incontinence
  • Ensuring a well-balanced diet that keeps adequate blood flow to the body’s tissues.

Bedsores are painful and difficult to treat, but they are also often preventable. Caregivers and practitioners have a legal obligation to reasonably foresee and prevent the development of bedsores. If they don’t, you may have legal grounds for a personal injury claim.

Your Seattle Pressure Ulcer Injury Attorney

We have a responsibility to protect our nation’s most vulnerable citizens. If you believe a loved one suffered from bedsores resulting from provider negligence, you may be able to gain compensation that will pay for medical bills and other losses associated with the experience. Seattle injury attorney, Greg Colburn, is standing by to help you and your family seek the justice they deserve. Contact Colburn Law today for a free initial consultation and to take advantage of our contingency-fee legal services.