Complications Caused by Bedsores in Maryland Nursing Homes

Bedsores are common in nursing homes, primarily among elderly patients, and most of time, they are merely a painful, yet easily treatable inconvenience. However, the same sores can cause a plethora of serious, sometimes deadly, medical conditions. Luckily, these conditions can be prevented with great ease.

If you have suffered from complications caused by bedsores in Maryland nursing homes, you may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering. Surviving bedsore complications can be a harrowing experience, costing tens of thousands of dollars.

Reach out to an attorney in your area if you believe your bedsore complications were the result of nursing home negligence.

Why Are Bedsores Dangerous?

Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers in the medical community, are sores that occur on the skin when it is exposed to prolonged pressure. Lying in one position prevents blood from circulating properly, and in turn, ulcers form. These sores often only impact the surface level of the skin, but if they are left untreated for an extended period of time, they can damage deeper levels of tissue and bone. They can also cause additional infections by spreading bacteria through the bloodstream.

Bedsores are most common in nursing homes and other medical facilities with high numbers of bedridden or mobility limited patients. Bedsores can be prevented by repositioning patients on a regular basis, ensuring they remain hydrated, and keeping their environment sanitary. Most sores heal relatively quickly and with minimal medical care, but more extensive sores may require surgery to remove infected tissue and bone.

Symptoms of Bedsores

Employees in nursing homes and other medical facilities should know how to recognize the symptoms of bedsores, which include:

  • Pain, redness, and swelling in the affected area
  • Drainage of pus
  • Skin that feels tender or warm to the touch
  • Fever or chills (warning signs of infection)
  • Open wounds

Basic bedsores can be treated by washing the affected area in a warm saline solution and applying a dressing to keep out bacteria and moisture. To reduce the pain and swelling often accompanying bedsores, doctors may prescribe NSAIDs (non-steroidal pain relievers) such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen sodium.

Complications Caused by Bedsores

The life-threatening nature of bedsores is primarily caused by the ability of an infection to travel through the bloodstream and impact other areas of the body. Some of the complications caused by bedsores in Maryland nursing homes include:

  • Osteomyelitis – When a sore penetrates deep tissue and reaches the bone, the bone can develop an infection as well. Such an infection is known as osteomyelitis, and it can cause permanent and extensive damage to the bone and joints.
  • Cancer – Bedsores can cause nonhealing wounds that result in squamous cell skin cancer, a potentially deadly form of cancer.
  • Cellulitis – The pain, swelling, and redness associated with skin is actually a condition called cellulitis.
  • Necrotizing Fasciitis – When a sore and infection spread to a larger area of skin, the impacted skin can die. This dead skin must be surgically removed.
  • Sepsis – The body releases numerous chemicals into the bloodstream when fighting infection. Unfortunately, if the body sends too many of these chemicals, they can damage organs and cause death.

Complications typically occur in patients experiencing severe bedsores that have penetrated the flesh.

Prevent Complications Caused by Bedsores in Maryland Nursing Homes

The majority of the complications caused by bedsores in Maryland nursing homes are highly preventable. By simply helping an immobile patient change positions every few hours, nursing home staff members can keep them healthy and keep all the previously mentioned medical complications from occurring. If they do not do this, they may be held liable if a patient develops complications.

Get in touch with an attorney if you want to discuss your bedsore complication case.