No one expects to go into hospital, or into residential care, and to suffer these incredibly nasty injuries, but it sadly happens all too often.
Extra pressure on the skin can be caused when somebody is immobile or unconscious (for example after surgery), as the flow of blood is affected. The skin can then break down leading to the formation of a sore.
Sources suggest that around 1 in 20 people who are admitted to hospital with a sudden illness will develop a pressure sore.
People over 70 years old are particularly vulnerable to pressure sores. This is due to older people having a higher rate of mobility problems, ageing skin and a reduced blood supply.
Pressure sores can be very difficult to treat. Regularly changing a patient’s position should be the order of the day. Specially designed mattresses and cushions can protect vulnerable parts of the body. Dressings and gels can be used to help speed up the healing process if pressure sores develop.
In the worst cases, pressure sores can lead to life-threatening complications such as infection, blood poisoning or gangrene.
Pressure sores often occur to the hips, buttocks, base of the spine, heels, ankles and shoulders and, in the worst cases, cause destruction of the skin and fat and muscle layers so that bones are exposed. Some pressure sores never properly heal.
Pressure sores can really affect your independence. Sores can weep and require daily, or regular, dressing, and pain relief, for a great length of time.
All medical practitioners have a duty to take reasonable care when managing their patients. When a medical practitioner fails in meeting this duty, patients may be left injured, sometimes permanently. Patients can often feel helpless in dealing with a large Health Trust which may not want to deal properly with complaints, no matter how genuine they are.
My team at Taylor&Emmet LLP and I are committed, friendly and professional Solicitors and we can help in investigating cases where debilitating pressure sores have developed.
Our Expert Team of Solicitors
My team and I can help in pursuing complaints regarding pressure sores on your behalf. We can also pursue fair compensation for our Clients.
Please see our Case Report/Client Stories section for a case which was settled on satisfactory terms involving an unfortunate lady who developed pressure sores on her heels due to the negligence of those treating her at Hospital following an operation
Severe pressure sores
Mrs Makin went into the Wrightington Hospital for a hip replacement operation in November 2008 but came out with severe pressure sores.
She was in hospital for a total of 11 days. Whilst she was recuperating she could not mobilise. Mrs Makin developed discomfort and pain in her heels. She asked staff on duty to look at her heels but the answer each time was, “I will be back in a minute.” No proper action was taken.
Blisters were eventually noticed on Mrs Makin’s heels seven days after the surgery but there was no adequate intervention to prevent pressure sores from getting worse. We obtained expert evidence from a tissue viability nurse. There was no proper use of the routinely used Waterlow Risk Assessment, by hospital staff, in Mrs Makin’s case.
The guidelines laid down by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence in relation to the prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers were not followed.
Fall in hospital contributes to death
It was alleged Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust had failed to carry out adequate falls risk assessments for an elderly lady being admitted to hospital. She should have been noted as being at very high risk of falls and pressure sores. It was alleged that the 91 year old lady’s previous health problems were not given enough consideration. These included; Impaired eyesight, dementia with confusion, hypertension, peripheral vascular disease, angioplasty left leg in 2002, CVA (stroke), anaemia, COPD and atrial fibrillation.
After being in hospital for 2 days the lady fell, fracturing her ankle. This was inoperable, given her frail state and she remained immobilised and deteriorated in hospital. She sustained pressure sores and eventually died about 7 weeks after her initial admission.
Liability was only partially admitted and the claim was eventually settled for £15,000.