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Did you know your skin is actually an organ? In fact, it is the largest organ in your body. And just like every other organ in the body, the skin also has a set of very specialized functions. For starters, the skin is responsible for protecting our inner organs and it also carries out a number of bodily functions that help us to maintain a healthy life. Changes in the skin can reveal a lot about your health and can be a sign that something is wrong.
When there is pressure on the skin it reduces blood flow to that area. Without enough blood, the skin can die and an ulcer may form. Skin ulcers are open wounds that develop on the skin as a result of injury, poor circulation, constant friction or unrelieved pressure.
There are several types of skin ulcers, but one that continues to be a growing problem in medical facilities are decubitus ulcers. Doesn’t sound familiar? How about a pressure sore or bed sore? These terms are often used interchangeable in the medical community.
These usually occur on bony areas of the body such as the lower back/tailbone, hips, shoulder blades, heels and ankles. They can occur quickly and are difficult to treat, but are actually rather easy to prevent. The risk is increased if you are bedridden, in a wheelchair, or limited in your ability to maneuver, such as a limb in a cast. Prevention is as easy as moving position every couple of hours, using pillows and other products to relieve pressure and keeping skin clean and dry.
But if one cannot easily move themselves because of paralysis, illness, old age, or frailty many depend on caretakers to help them do so. Still, pressure sores can occur to anyone of all ages and those who do not appear to be at risk. Pressure sores may be preventable, but they’re nothing more than a breach of care by healthcare providers and are subject to a lawsuit. Plain and simple, nursing homes, hospitals, rehab facilities, etc have a duty to prevent these sores from happening.
Pressure sores develop in stages based upon the depth of skin damage, ranging from the least severe (stage 1) to the most sever (stage 4).
- Stage 1 Pressure Ulcer: redness of the skin and may be itchy
- Stage 2 Pressure Ulcer: The skin may have a painful open sore or blister, with discolored skin around it.
- Stage 3 Pressure Ulcer: A crater-like appearance develops, due to tissue damage below the skin’s surface.
- Stage 4 Pressure Ulcer: Severe damage to skin and tissue, possibly with infection. Muscles, bones and tenons may be visible.
Treating pressure ulcers is not always easy. Open wounds are unlikely to heal rapidly, but even when there is healing it may inconsistent because of the damage to the skin and other tissues and can spread elsewhere in the body causing other medical complications. Serious wounds may even need surgery. Less severe pressure ulcers often heal within a few weeks with proper treatment.
There is no cost to hire an attorney to bring a case against these facilities if they are negligent and you develop a decubitus ulcer. If you would like our help in finding the right lawyer for your case, please contact us any time.