Complications Caused by Bedsores in Washington DC Nursing Homes

When a person has difficulty moving, nursing home staff must turn them regularly to prevent bedsore development. Complications caused by bedsores in Washington DC nursing homes can result in amputation or even death.

A DC nursing home abuse bedsores lawyer can help patients with bedsore complications due to neglect receive the compensation they deserve.

What Does Developing a Bedsore Mean?

A bedsore is the colloquial name for decubitus ulcers or pressure ulcers. These ulcers most often form on bony parts of the body, especially the hips, tailbone, lower back, heels and ankles. Those at greatest risk of developing bedsores are people who cannot change positions frequently due to medical issues, such as coma, paralysis, or long-term confinement to a bed or wheelchair.

That is why nursing home patients with mobility problems require repositioning by staff every few hours. Elderly individuals and those with compromised immune systems are the most vulnerable to bedsore development.

When caught quickly, bedsores will not become infected, but once infection develops, it can cause a host of complications, some of them life-threatening. Initial signs of bedsores include:

  • Fever
  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling

If these symptoms are not treated immediately, the infection worsens, possibly resulting in skin sloughing, pus and drainage, and a foul odor.

Common Bedsore Complications

Because bedsores cause infection, a variety of serious complications may ensure. Common bedsore complications include:

  • Blood poisoning – the infection from a bedsore may spread into the bloodstream, resulting in septicemia, also known as blood poisoning. The patient may go into septic shock, a potentially fatal condition. Damage to multiple organs may occur. Extensive antibiotic treatment is needed.
  • Cellulitis – when the infection from a bedsore spreads to a deeper skin layer, the disease is known as cellulitis. Symptoms include skin reddening, swelling, and pain. Untreated cellulitis can spread to the bloodstream, causing septicemia. There is also the possibility, if the infection spreads to the lower back, that the membranes surrounding the spine, the meninges, may become infected. This may cause meningitis, another often fatal condition. Initial cellulitis treatment involves antibiotic therapy.
  • Gas gangrene – if the bedsore is infected with Clostridium bacteria, dangerous toxins may enter the body. Symptoms include rapid swelling of the skin and severe pain. Surgical debridement of the affected area is necessary. If not done promptly, gangrene can spread, requiring amputation of affected body parts.
  • Necrotizing fasciitis – this condition is known by the term “flesh-eating bacteria.” The bacteria in question is Streptococcus A, and it causes tissue to die quickly. Immediate surgical debridement, along with antibiotic therapy, is necessary.
  • Bone or joint infection – probably the most common serious side effect relating to bedsore involves infection of the bones or joints. The former is known as osteomyelitis, and the latter is called septic arthritis. Bone death may result, requiring surgery to remove necrotic bone. If untreated, an affected limb may require amputation.

Learn More About Complications Arising from Bedsores Today

In a well-run nursing home facility, bedsores should either not occur or the pressure sores are detected at the very earliest stages.

If you or a loved one suffer from complications caused by bedsores in a Washington DC nursing home, you may need the services of an experienced DC nursing home abuse attorney specializing in nursing home abuse. Call our office today and arrange a free consultation, or contact us online.