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Miranda Miller
Miranda Miller
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Bedsores: bad for you and the economy

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As you’ve no doubt read, nursing home negligence often leads to the development of bedsores. But did you know those bedsores, or pressure ulcers, not only cause pain but infection, blood poisoning, amputations, and even death? Additionally, a 2009 study published in the Wound Repair and Regeneration journal stated that chronic wounds – like bedsores — are “a major snowballing threat to public health and the economy,” amounting to $25 billion a year.

Companies are creating all sorts of things to treat bedsores – including laboratory-grown cells that stimulate tissue regrowth, pressure redistribution mattresses, and oxygen chambers – but as John Hopkins Bayview Medical Center founder Gerald Lazarus told WSJ.com, a holistic approach that prevents bedsores is optimal.

Montefiore Medical Center Director Anna Flattau agrees, telling the Wall Street Journal, “We may reduce the need for more expensive technologies by treating wounds earlier and better so they have the best chance of healing.”

The more than 2.5 million elderly, disabled, and obese people confined to bed or a wheelchair each year could stave off bedsores by monitoring their skin for lesions. Nursing homes should do the same and turn patients frequently in order to redistribute pressure on the skin.

So how do you know if you have the beginnings of a bedsore? Drugs.com advises there are four stages to bedsore development. Here’s what to look for:

  • The pre-bedsore deep tissue injury: Purple or red skin – or a blister – on a bony part of the body like the hip that feels warm, spongy, or tight.
  • Stage one: Warm, spongy, or tight skin that itches or hurts. The skin may appear red for more than an hour after pressure is removed.
  • Stage two: Red, raw broken skin that sinks inward and appears shiny or dry.
  • Stage three: A crater- or bowl-shaped hole has formed.
  • Stage four: A deep sore that exposes tendons, muscle, and bone.

Once you have a bedsore, doctors have to perform surgery to cut away the dead tissue, so prevention is key.

If you or a loved one have suffered bedsores as a result of nursing home negligence, be sure to have an experienced trial attorney review the facts of your case.