Pressure sores or ulcers are caused when an area of skin on the body and the tissues below are damaged as a result of being placed under pressure, causing the blood supply to that particular area to be impaired. They develop quickly and can take a long time to heal and can be debilitating and extremely painful. They are, unfortunately, a common occurrence. The good news is that they can be prevented with appropriate nursing care.
Government statistics reported that from April 2014 to March 2015, there were 25,000 cases of patients having contracted pressure sores, which begs the question of how many of these could have been prevented.
There are various stages of pressure ulcers, ranging in severity from Stage 1 (Non-Blanchable) to Stage 4 where there has been full thickness tissue loss. Stage 4 attracts the highest risk of a patient contracting an infection and leading to life threatening complications. In almost all cases of this kind that we deal with, the pressure sore/ulcer develops following treatment for another ailment or issue.
Guidelines set out by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) set out a rationale to try and ensure that healthcare professionals can identify people who are at risk of contracting a pressure sore or ulcer by carrying out a full pressure sore risk assessment. By acting on those risk assessments should then allow healthcare professionals to offer preventions – rather than cures when the damage has already been done. If this hasn’t been followed, it can be argued that the standard of care provided has slipped below an acceptable level.
All pressure sores/ulcers, regardless of their severity, can cause a great deal of pain and discomfort. In the cases of a lesser severity, treatment measures can still include creams and dressings to aid the recovery process. In the most severe cases, surgery may be required to remove the damaged tissue cases. Worryingly, some pressure sores/ulcers may never completely heal and can cause the risk of infection to rocket.
If the pressure sore/ulcer has occurred as a result of substandard medical care, we often find that these are 100% cases where liability is accepted without a fight. Damages would include any costs of surgery, treatment and an element for the pain and suffering caused by the presence of the pressure sore/ulcer.
If you or someone you know have suffered from a pressure sore or ulcer and you think a hospital may be at fault, contact one of our experienced team today. Call 0845 287 0939 or contact us through our online contact form.