Osteomyelitis in Washington DC Nursing Homes

Bedsores can lead to all sorts of complications, and among the most severe is osteomyelitis caused by bedsores. Also known as pressure sores, these open wounds are an ideal way for an infection to enter the body. Osteomyelitis in Washington DC nursing homes occurs far too often due to improper care or medical malpractice.

If you or a member of your family are suffering from osteomyelitis because a nursing home neglected to care for your bedsore properly, we can help you receive the compensation you deserve.

What is Osteomyelitis

Osteomyelitis is a bone infection. Approximately one-third of patients with severe bedsores will develop osteomyelitis. Symptoms include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Fever
  • Irritability
  • Redness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Fatigue
  • Foul odor
  • Pus drainage

This infection can cause bone to die, requiring surgical removal of the dead bone. In a worst-case scenario, the infection is so bad and so extensive that amputation of the affected area is necessary. Such an infection most often occurs in the feet and legs. Without amputation, the infection could move into the bloodstream and prove fatal.


When bedsores occur in nursing home residents, that is a sign that they are receiving inadequate care in the facility. These decubitus ulcers are generally preventable when staff regularly inspects residents’ skin and moves immobilized people every few hours. Bedsores usually develop in the thinner, bonier areas of the body, such as the hips, buttocks, lower back, feet and back of the head. Along with too little movement, bedsores may also occur because the patient’s personal hygiene needs are not properly addressed by staff. Malnutrition, dehydration and other factors that nursing home residents should not have to deal with also contribute to bedsore development and possible osteomyelitis. A bedsore can form quickly, and prompt treatment makes all the difference.

Common Causes of Osteomyelitis

Bedsores do not cause osteomyelitis per se, but they are a significant pathway for a fungal or bacterial infection to enter the body, which does cause osteomyelitis in nursing home residents. Other conditions can increase the risk of developing this bone infection. These risk factors include:

  • Diabetes
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Prolonged steroid use
  • Intravenous lines and catheters
  • Hemodialysis
  • Weakened immune system

Elderly people are especially vulnerable to developing osteomyelitis, especially if they have a history of smoking.

Osteomyelitis Treatment

If the bedsore is abscessing, drainage is necessary via needle aspiration. Deeper infections require surgical drainage. The doctor will then prescribe appropriate antibiotics, usually given intravenously, to combat the infection.

As noted, many patients will require surgery to remove dead bone or amputation of the affected body part. One side effect of wounds needing constant drainage is the development of squamous cell skin cancer at the site.

Osteomyelitis treatment may involve weeks or months in a hospital, exposing the elderly or those with compromised immune systems to an even higher risk of developing other types of infections.

Talk to a DC Nursing Home Abuse Attorney About Osteomyelitis Today

If you or a loved developed osteomyelitis because of poor care in a Washington DC nursing home, you need the services of an experienced attorney. When a bedsore is recognized early and treated correctly, osteomyelitis should not occur, so the nursing home was negligent in patient care. You may have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. Call us today for a free consultation or contact us online.