For thousands of patients every year, a hospitalization turns into a lingering nightmare when they develop pressure sores during their stay. Some hospitals have put a premium on medical research and technology at the expense of providing hands-on care for patients overall medical needs.
Hospital’s responsibility to look after patients’ medical care needs
Hospital staff must remember that many of their patients medical conditions result in physical disability that increases their risk of developing pressure sores. Further, providing quality medical care requires them to assess the patient as a whole—as opposed to treating the acute condition for which they may have originally been admitted for.
Recognizing importance of hospitals to take steps to prevent the development of pressure sores in their patients, Medicare has included stage 3 and 4 pressure sores on its list of ‘Never Events‘—or complications that are so easily preventable with basic attention and care that they simply should never occur in the first place. Beginning in 2008, Medicare as well as some major health insurers, have refused to reimburse hospitals for any charges related to the care of hospital-acquired pressure sores.
When hospitals fail to provide the basic care for their patients and in turn the patient develops pressure sores (interchangeably used with: bed sores, pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers), during their hospital stay, the patient or his family may be entitled to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit against the facility for the resulting pain, disability and medical expenses.
Pressure Sores Increasing in a Variety of Settings
In the last almost two decades, even though technology and medical breakthroughs are common, the incidence of pressure sores has actually increased. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the total amount of hospital stays due to pressure sores has increased almost 80% since 1993. In 2006 there were over half a million hospital stays for pressure sores as the diagnosis.
Although some of these cases were people who were admitted to the hospital with a pressure sore as the primary reason for admission or as a co-existing condition, there are also “secondary” pressure sores that may have resulted from the hospital stay itself. In fact 90% of the pressure sore hospital stays were patients admitted for other treatment.
In comparison to all other conditions treated at a hospital, pressure sores are more likely to result in admission to a long-term facility, such as a nursing home. They are also more likely to have fatal results. Patients admitted in to a nursing home with a pressure sore have a 50% morality rate at the end of one year, versus 27% in those without pressure sores.
A case of medical malpractice?
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers has represented families and individuals in medical malpractice cases following the development of a pressure sore during a hospitalization. Working with some of the leading doctors and nurses in the field of pressure sore treatment and prevention, our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys can evaluate your case and aggressively prosecute the case when necessary.
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