Anyone who’s ever had a pressure sore will tell you how uncomfortable and painful they are. Even worse than that in some cases they can become open to infection because the skin has completely disintegrated and the soft tissue then becomes exposed.
Pressure sores are reddened areas of skin that can become too tender to touch, after a while they can become purple and bruise and if the pressure is still placed on the sore then the skin brakes down and a crater-like sore is left which is the point when it is susceptible to infections.
There have been a lot of stories in the press about elderly people in care homes who don’t get the care that they deserve (or that is being paid for) and are left in their beds for extended periods of time without bed baths or any exercise and these are the types of conditions that make pressure sores much more likely.
When somebody isn’t moved for a prolonged period of time then the blood flow is restricted and therefore the pressure sore starts to develop.
Can Medical Negligence Be Proven With Regards To Pressure Sores
Some patients or their families think that pressure sores are not serious enough conditions to be considered for medical negligence compensation but because of the pain and suffering caused they definitely can be used to make a claim for compensation.
Elderly patients deserve the same level as care as everybody else even in the later stages of their life.
A bed-ridden patient needs to be turned regularly to help avoid pressure sores so if the staff in a care home can be proven not to have been doing so then there is a case for medical negligence being the cause of the pressure sores and subsequent pain and lack of comfort.
There is evidence too that dehydration can contribute to pressure sores so staff in the care home should be providing regular fluids for residents and ensuring they can reach it or assist them to have regular drinks.
Some families of elderly patients in care homes who are concerned with the level of care have turned to installing covert CCTV devices like alarm clocks or cuddly toys to aid in their compensation claims and also to ensure the level of care provided increases for other residents of the care home.
Other evidence of bad practice that can be used are statements from the patient themselves as well as logs from the care home or hospital which should show the timings of events. Any evidence that the patient isn’t being turned or hydrated can help with a claim for compensation.
With all medical negligence claims there are strict time limits set out in law for making a claim for compensation.
The patient or their carer needs to make the claim within 3 years of realising the patient was injured i.e. when they found out about the pressure sores.
Patient’s under the age of 18 have 3 years from the date they turn 18 and patients who were in hospital due to mental health issues have 3 years to claim after their mental health condition was cured.
Finding The Right Solicitor For Your Claim
There are a few things to consider when looking for a solicitor to make a compensation claim with regards pressure sores.
Firstly locality is quite key as the solicitor is likely to need to speak with the patient and so will probably need to visit them if they are still immobile so need to be fairly local.
Secondly it’s important to choose a solicitor that the patient can get along with easily as they are going to be dealing with quite personal issues and need to be able to speak freely with the solicitor. At the same time however the solicitor should be able to demonstrate recent cases of a similar nature that shows they are experienced in dealing with pressure sores and proving they were caused by medical negligence of a doctor or care home staff.
Most solicitors will offer a free consultation where you can ask any questions and be provided with references of recent clients with similar cases.