November 15, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ -- A recent study by the UCLA School of Nursing has found a correlation between bedsores--also called pressure ulcers--and patient deaths and increases in the length of hospitalization.
For the study, researchers tracked about 51,000 randomly selected Medicare beneficiaries who were hospitalized nationwide. The study found that about 4.5 percent of the patients developed a bedsore while they were in the hospital. They study also found that even though 3,000 patients entered the hospital already having a bedsore, 16.7 percent of these patients developed a new bedsore in another area of their body during their stay.
The study found that the majority of bedsores developed on the sacrum or tailbone. In addition, a high number of bedsores appeared on the hips, buttocks and heels of the patients. The study concluded that patients who developed bedsores were more likely to require longer hospital stays, be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of discharge or die during the hospital stay.
Bedsores are a condition that mainly affects the elderly, but can occur in any patient whose medical condition requires them to spend long periods of time in bed or in a wheelchair. They are painful skin lesions that can be caused by humidity, friction, medication or long-term contact with liquids. However, the most common cause is constant and sustained pressure on the skin.
Regular pressure on the skin can, over time, stop blood from flowing to the skin and its underlying tissues. This eventually causes the skin and tissue cells to die. If left untreated, the dead skin and tissues slough off, forming an open wound. If nothing is done, the wound can eventually grow to expose the bones, tendons and muscles underneath the dead tissue. At this point, unless there is prompt and aggressive treatment, the wound eventually can become infected and cause sepsis or gangrene. In many cases, this can be fatal.
An attorney can help
It is an unfortunate fact that bedsores commonly develop among the most vulnerable patients in hospitals and nursing homes. Bedsores can be easily treated if they are discovered early in their formation process. However, the best treatment is prevention by frequently changing the patient's positions and using pads or air mattresses to ease pressure on the skin.
If the hospital or nursing home staff regularly monitor and care for the patient, bedsores can be easily prevented. However, in many cases, they are needlessly caused by hospital negligence or nursing home neglect.
If your loved one has developed bedsores while as a patient in a hospital or as a resident in a nursing home, contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney. An attorney can investigate the causes of the injury and work to hold those responsible accountable for their negligence.
Article provided by Novak Pavlik Deliberato LLP
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