What is a pressure injury or bedsore?

Last updated on: February 3, 2023

It is incredibly frustrating being unable to move for prolonged periods of time. Whether due to injury or disability, prolonged periods of immobility not only take a mental toll on a person but can have devastating effects on their health due to the development of bedsores. Bedsores are a common injury associated with immobility, and lack of proper care can have serious consequences, including death.

If you or a loved one have suffered from a pressure injury death or injury due to someone’s negligence, you may be entitled to receive financial compensation for your suffering. A personal injury lawyer can advise you of your rights and assist you in filing a claim against those responsible for the injury.

If you or a loved one have suffered bedsore-related injuries, call Zinda Law Group today at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free consultation with one of our pressure injury lawyers.

Pressure injury faqs

Each year, over 2.5 million Americans develop pressure injuries, with almost 60,000 of those injuries resulting in death. Statistics released by the Center for Disease Control in 2004 revealed that roughly 159,000 nursing home residents, roughly 11% of all patients, had pressure ulcers.

What Is a Pressure Injury?

A pressure injury, also known as a pressure ulcer or bedsore, is an injury to the skin and underlying tissue. Bedsores form when there is prolonged pressure placed on the skin, or when there is a dragging force between the skin and another surface; these sores often form over bony parts of a person’s body, such as heels, elbows, tailbones, and hips. Pressure injuries are diagnosed when a physician performs a physical exam.

Common Causes of Pressure Injuries

Pressure injuries are caused when force is applied to the skin. Several types of force can result in bedsores. These forces are pressure, shearing, friction, and moisture.

Prolonged pressure on the skin which causes bedsore results from remaining in the same position for an extended period. Constant and prolonged pressure on any part of a person’s body disrupts blood flow, which is essential for delivering oxygen and nutrients to skin and other tissues. Lack of oxygen and nutrients causes damage to the skin and nearby tissues and can eventually result in the death of the skin and tissues.

Friction occurs when skin rubs against clothes and bedding. When this friction occurs in areas where the skin is moist, it can make fragile skin more prone to injury. Moisture comes from fluids, when sweat, urine, or fecal matter remain on the skin and cause the skin to become overly wet.

Stages of a Pressure Injury

A pressure injury’s severity is measure in stages, with Stage 1 one being the least severe and Stage 4 being the most severe.

  • Stage 1: the skin is discolored, appearing red in fair skin tones and blue/purple in darker skin tones; the skin does not blanch (turn white) when pressed with a finger.
  • Stage 2: At this stage superficial damage occurs; the first layer of skin is lost and looks like a blister. At this point the top layer skin can still repair itself.
  • Stage 3: This stage is a deeper wound, which is open and extends to the fatty layer of the skin.
  • Stage 4: The wound extends down to the bone; the muscles and bone are prone to infection, which can be life-threatening.

Who Is at Risk for Developing Pressure Injuries?

Pressure injuries occur most often in hospitals and long-term care facilities. People with certain conditions are more prone than others to developing pressure injuries; these people include:

  • People with a limited amount of mobility or a total inability to move, such as those in wheelchairs or who are bedridden
  • Those with prosthetic (artificial) limbs that are improperly fitted
  • People with a loss of sensation, as they may be unaware of the damage to their skin
  • The elderly, who are at risk because skin thins and becomes more fragile as people age

Pressure Injury Treatment

Treatment of and recovery from bedsores is dependent on the severity of the injury. The wound is first cleaned, after which it needs to be kept clean, moist, and covered with an appropriate bandage. At certain stages, debridement is necessary.

Debridement is a process of ridding the wound of dead tissue and is very important to the healing process because it changes the bedsore from a chronic wound to an acute wound, which allows for faster healing. There are several types of debridement. These methods include ultrasound waves, irrigation (pressurized fluid), lasers, biosurgery (using maggots to eliminate bacteria, surgery, and topical treatments.

Pressure Injury Prognosis

If left untreated, bedsores can result in further infection and even death. Bedsores themselves do not cause death; the complications from the injuries do. Severe bedsores, those at Stage 3 and 4, can lead to the following conditions, all of which may result in death:

  • Cellulitis: An infection of the skin
  • Osteomyelitis: An infection of the bone
  • Bacteremia: An infection of the blood
  • Meningitis: An infection of the brain and spinal cord
  • Endocarditis: An infection of the heart
  • Cancer: Long-term, nonhealing wounds can develop into a type of squamous cell carcinoma.
  • Sepsis: Rarely, a skin ulcer leads to sepsis.

Pressure Injury Prevention

There are steps a person or their caretaker can take to prevent bedsores from developing; first, it is important to keep the skin clean and clear of any bodily fluids in order to prevent excess moisture. To the extent that they can, patients should try to move their body as frequently as possible and have a caretaker assist as needed; this will help avoid constant pressure being placed on the bony parts of the body. Foam pads and pillows can be placed below bony areas and under the lower back to prevent pressure buildup in these areas while in certain positions.

It is very important to maintain proper nutrition. Not only will proper nutrition help prevent bedsores, but it can also help the healing process for those already formed. Proper nutrients delivered to skin and tissues are essential for those tissues to heal.

Pressure injuries and neglect

Pressure injuries are preventable so long as proper care is given to a patient. Careful observation and routine assistance with movement is needed to help prevent the injury from occurring or worsening. Often these injuries occur because a patient in a nursing home or hospital is left unattended for prolonged periods, and these patients and residents often suffer from injuries that leave them immobile or wheelchair bound.

Leaving nursing home residents and patients unattended may be considered neglect; in nursing homes, the neglect that occurs may be active or passive. Active neglect occurs when a caretaker intentionally fails to execute their responsibilities and take care of a resident; passive neglect involves “non-willful failure” to perform caretaking responsibilities. Nursing homes are required to monitor residents regularly and provide necessary care, and passive neglect may occur when this monitoring system fails.

Both the withholding of care and the failure to monitor and perform caretaking responsibilities for patients, such as frequently moving immobile patients to prevent bedsores or examining them for sores, are bases for claims of neglect against a nursing home or long term care facility. Speak with a nursing home injury attorney if you feel you or your loved one’s pressure injury is the result of neglect in a facility or hospital.

Do I Need a Personal Injury Attorney?

When a bedsore forms or worsens due to improper care, the health provider or caretaker may be liable for neglect. An injury lawyer will be able to evaluate your case and bring a claim against a health care provider if you feel you or your loved one had suffered from neglect.

In any personal injury claim, time is of the essence. On these types of claims, there are time limits that dictate when you can bring a claim. Once this time limit expires, your claim is barred, which is why you should speak with an injury attorney as soon as possible.

Finding pressure injury lawyers is easier than you think. You can ask friends or family for recommendations, or simply search “personal injury lawyers near me” online, or by searching for a lawyer on the American Bar Association’s website. You can also check websites of smaller bar associations within your state to find a lawyer closer to you.

When choosing a lawyer, you should research first and choose a personal injury attorney who has the experience and skill needed to handle your case, and a track record of success in pursing personal injury claims. Zinda Law Group’s pressure injury lawyers  nationwide have experience with pressure injury nursing home injury claims and an outstanding record of success in handling these matters for our clients.

How Zinda LAW GROUP Can Help You

If you have developed a bedsore due to lack of proper care or negligence, you may feel lost concerning what to do next. Our experienced pressure injury attorneys at Zinda Law Group can assist you with recovering the costs associated with your pressure injury. Our attorneys serve clients nationwide, and have the experience needed to guide you through the complex legal system to help ensure you receive the maximum compensation you are entitled to.

We will take care of the legal work so you can focus on yourself and your family, or your own personal recovery if you are the one bringing the case. If we do not win your case, you will not pay any fees. This is our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.

If you or a loved one have suffered a bedsore death or injury and wish to pursue a claim, call Zinda Law Group today at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our pressure injury lawyers.

Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.