Pressure Sores

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Developed a Pressure Sore Whilst in Hospital or a Nursing Home?

If you have suffered from pressure sores due to negligent treatment in a hospital, or a nursing home, you may be able to claim compensation.

We have acted for many clients in the past who have developed pressure sores due to the negligent treatment of hospital or nursing home staff, which in some circumstances led or contributed towards their death. We pride ourselves on getting the compensation our clients deserve. If you, or a relative, have suffered from pressure sores that you feel could have been prevented, then you may have a claim for compensation.

Why choose us?

Why choose Oliver & Co Medical Negligence team? – Read our guide.

You can direct dial our Clinical Negligence Department on 01244 354688 or fill in our contact us form.

What are pressure sores?

Pressure sores (also known as bedsores/ulcers) occur when an area of skin is placed under great pressure. Elderly or disabled patients who are bed bound and unable to move around very well are most likely to develop pressure sores. This is because blood flow to the skin can be disrupted if it is in contact with a wheelchair or bed for an extended period of time. When the skin is starved of essential oxygen and nutrients, it can lead to a breakdown of tissue and pressure sore formation.

Pressures sores must be treated appropriately and quickly by nursing staff. If not, the wound can increase in size and depth. Sadly, this can then leave patients at risk of various infections and they can suffer excruciating pain. In some extreme cases, if pressure sores are left untreated, they can result in amputation or even death.

Pressure sore grading:

If pressure sores are not treated quickly, they can become more severe. The severity of pressure sores are measured through a grading system. The European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (EPUAP) grading system is often used when describing the grade of the pressure ulcer. According to this system, pressure sores are graded from 1-4, with 1 being less severe and 4 being very severe. The grades are defined as follows:

  • Grade 1: When the skin is intact but discoloured (pink/red) and the discolouration does not disappear with light finger pressure.
  • Grade 2: When there is partial skin loss or damage and the ulcer appears to be a deep red/purple. They can be described to appear as a small crater or blister in the skin.
  • Grade 3: When a full thickness of skin loss occurs and involves damage of subcutaneous tissue. The wound appears to be a deep crater and can be yellow in colour.
  • Grade 4: When there is a full thickness of skin loss with extensive necrosis (death) of the tissues, extending across and into the deep layers of the skin. The wound appears to be a very deep crater with worsening tissue discoloration, and are mostly black in colour. There can even be holes in the tissue and underlying structures (such as bones) can be visible.

How can pressure sores be prevented?

The majority of pressure sores are preventable, and their worsening can be halted with early and appropriate treatment. Early treatment prevents the pressure sores from deteriorating and becoming a more severe grade, as described above.

Stopping pressure sores from developing is extremely important. Fortunately, nursing staff have several ways of making sure pressure sores do not develop:

  • Skin Inspection – Firstly, an inspection of a patient’s skin needs to be carried out and frequently repeated. This is true for all patients who are admitted to hospital, especially for those who are unable to move around well and get out of bed without help. The sores can develop on any part of the body but are more frequently found in the sacral area, buttocks, heels, hip joints and on the back of the head.
  • The Waterlow System – The risk of a patient developing a pressure sore increases if they are dehydrated, malnourished, confused, or have other illnesses such as diabetes. Nurses often use a special risk assessment called the ‘Waterlow System’ to calculate a patient’s risk of developing a pressure sore. The higher a patient’s Waterlow score, the higher the risk of developing sores.
  • Pressure Relieving Equipment – Patients with a higher risk of developing pressure sores should be given pressure relieving equipment. For example, they may be given a pressure-relieving mattress. They should also be turned on a regular basis to avoid extensive pressure to particular areas of the skin.

How can pressure sores be treated?

The treatment of pressure sores varies depending on the grade. For those patients who are more prone to developing ulcers, the help of a Tissue Viability Nurse (a nurse who specialises in the treatment and prevention of pressure sores) should be sought. The treatment types are as follows:

  • Frequent changes in position. For example, every 2 hours, including overnight.
  • Obtaining a specialised mattress/cushion.
  • The use of antibiotics.
  • Dressings.
  • Creams/ointments.
  • Debridement.
  • Surgery.

Case Studies:

We help lots of clients every year just like you claim the compensation they deserve. Below are two case studies. These demonstrate how we have helped clients claim compensation for pressure sores in the past. Please be aware that the compensation amounts depend on the client’s individual situation and experiences. To see how much your claim could be worth please contact us directly.

Case Study 1: £25,000 in Compensation

  • This was a medical negligence case on behalf of the estate of a gentleman who passed away aged 82 years.
  • Our client was transferred to hospital for extensive treatment following a fall at a previous hospital. On admission to the hospital, it was noted that our client’s skin was fully intact. As our client was elderly, bed bound and unable to move, he was at a high risk of developing pressure sores.

The negligent treatment:

  • Unfortunately, the nursing care provided to our client was poor. Subsequently, our client developed horrendous pressure sores. He lost a lot of weight and sadly also contracted the Clostrium Difficile (C.Diff) infection in hospital, causing terrible diarrhoea.
  • The pressure sores were only documented when our client was discharged to a nursing home 6 months later. The staff at the home were so horrified by our client’s pressure sores that they took photographs as evidence and told our client’s daughter that they had considered reporting the matter to the police. The pressure sores had turned black and caused large holes in our client’s skin.
  • Within just 3 weeks at the nursing home, the condition of our client’s skin had improved dramatically. Our client was fortunately able to enjoy the last few months of his life thanks to the high standard of care provided at the Nursing Home, for which our client’s family are grateful.

How we helped:

  • We pursued a claim against the hospital for our client’s pressure sores. No admissions of liability have been forthcoming from the defendant, but our client has recovered the sum of £25,000 by way of compensation.
  • Our client’s daughter initially instructed another firm of Solicitors to act on her behalf but after reviewing the extensive medical records, these solicitors were of the opinion that the prospects of success were poor and they declined to continue acting. Despite this, we decided that we would like to form our own opinion on this matter and took the claim on and are pleased to have recovered compensation for our client.

Case Study 2: £10,000 in Compensation

  • We successfully obtained compensation in the sum of £10,000 for the family of a 70 year old gentleman. They received compensation following a hospital staff’s failure to adequately diagnose and treat his pressure sore (skin ulcer), which led to his very sad death.

The negligent treatment:

  • Our Client was a bilateral amputee due to diabetes and had a number of underlying health conditions. Our Client was admitted to Hospital for a number of weeks due to a problem with his pre-existing illnesses. Unfortunately, he suffered as a result of poor nursing care whilst he was an inpatient. For example, our Client’s meals were often missed, his call bell was left out of reach, and he was left to sit in his own excrement. A truly horrible situation for our client.
  • During the Hospital admission, he complained of leg pain which appeared to be worsening. Despite this, and despite the fact that our client was very unwell, no action was taken and he was discharged home. During the ambulance journey home our client was so unwell that he suffered from severe vomiting.
  • The following day the district nurses were due to come out to change the dressings he had on his legs. Unfortunately, there was a delay in the nurses receiving the referral from the hospital and nobody had even mentioned that our client was suffering from pressure sores.
  • The district nurses did visit our client at home after a couple of days. When the nurses removed the bandages on his legs they saw a sore so severe that the bone was showing through the skin with black tissue surrounding it (the most severe category of pressure sore). Upon further examination a second sore was found in the buttocks area.
  • Our Client attended the hospital a few days later for a routine appointment and was so ill that he was admitted as an inpatient straight away. Unfortunately, he was suffering from sepsis as a result of the significant leg sore. Sadly, he passed away shortly after.

How we helped:

  • We were instructed by the family to pursue a clinical negligence claim. We commenced thorough investigations, which involved a full review of our Client’s medical records. Despite the hospital confirming that the records relating to our Client’s last two admissions had been lost, we proceeded to bring forward a claim.
  • Whilst partial admissions were made by the defendant hospital, not all negligent care was admitted in full. We remained strong in our views and proceeded to seek evidence from both a nursing expert and a consultant geriatrician, who were fully supportive of the claim that the Defendant breached their duty of care for failing to adequately diagnose and treat our Client’s pressure sore.
  • We were delighted to successfully reach settlement in the sum of £10,000 in compensation for our client’s family.

Do you have a potential medical negligence claim?

Please contact us for advice if you feel you have suffered any form of negligent medical/dental treatment. We have a specialist team of solicitors who are always happy to help.

If you would like advice on whether you have a potential clinical negligence claim please contact us on the number below. Please note that there are legal time limits in place for starting a claim for compensation. Our specialist clinical negligence solicitors will be able to advise you specifically on the facts of your own case.

Call and speak to a lawyer on 01244 312306

Linda Schermer

Associate Director & Solicitor

Kerry Goulden

Associate Director & Medical Negligence Solicitor

Liz Fry

Medical Negligence Solicitor

Jyoati Chada

Medical Negligence Solicitor

Emma Woodrow

Clinical Negligence Fee Earner

Chloe Rheade

Litigation Executive

Martyn Elliott

Solicitor

Samantha Smith

Solicitor