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Chicago Bed Sore Lawyer

Bed sores, also known as pressure sores, decubitus ulcers, or pressure ulcers, are a graphic sign of neglect at nursing facilities, hospitals, and other long-term care facilities.

The Chicago personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC have successfully resolved bedsore cases in all care settings in Cook County and other jurisdictions in Illinois.

Our experience litigating and resolving Chicago bedsore lawsuits has given our legal team a unique perspective to evaluate your specific situation.

If your family member developed a bedsore during an admission to a nursing home, we invite you to speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer regarding your rights for pursuing legal action.

As with all our nursing home abuse and medical malpractice cases, we offer a free initial consultation.

Contact a Chicago nursing home bedsore lawyer at our law firm today and begin the process of getting justice for your loved one.

The Origins of Bed Sores in Chicago Nursing Home Residents

Pressure wounds can develop on any body bony part that experiences unrelieved pressure over a significant period. When blood flow is restricted in that area, the tissue dies, and a wound develops.

The areas of the body that bedsore are most commonly found include the legs, hips, ankles, heels, buttocks, and back.

Nursing facilities must implement preventative techniques to prevent decubitus ulcers.These techniques might include regular off-loading that relieves pressure, integration of pressure-relieving mattresses, and keeping patients clean and dry.

Caregivers must monitor patients with limited mobility to ensure the residents avoid development of wounds.

Chicago pressure sore injury lawyer

Nursing facilities must implement preventative techniques to prevent decubitus ulcers.These techniques might include regular off-loading that relieves pressure, integration of pressure-relieving mattresses, and keeping patients clean and dry.

Caregivers must monitor patients with limited mobility to ensure the residents avoid development of wounds.

Legal Responsibility of Nursing Homes to Prevent Pressure Ulcers

The nursing home staff has a legal obligation to prevent bedsores. Federal law (42 CFR § 483.25(c)(1) and (2) (1998))requires nursing facilities to implement protocols to prevent wounds unless they are clinically unavoidable.

The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act further assures nursing facility patients that staff will provide proper care and prevention protocols.

Clinical guidelines give specific recommendations on treatment and care once patients display pressure wounds while living in long-term facilities. These guidelines include but are not limited to the following:
  • Assessment
  • Tissue management
  • Disease control
  • Ulcer care
Assessment is critical to forming an effective plan of care. The assessment should initially determine the size, location, and severity of the wounds.

Once pressure injuries have been identified, the clinician should follow with a holistic assessment taking note of the patient's complete medical history, diet, and other conditions.
Chicago Nursing Home bed sore injury lawyer

Medical Complications Related to Nursing Home & Assisted Living Facility Bedsores

Assisted facility patients could be at risk of severe medical complications that cause pain, disability, or death when a pressure wound develops and degrades to an open wound.
  • Sepsis (septicemia) is a life-threatening illness caused by a bacterial infection in the bloodstream that frequently enters the body through open wounds. Doctors characterize sepsis as a severe infection that is spread throughout the body. The condition can trigger an inflammatory response that might damage most body systems or shut them down completely.
  • Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bones caused by bacteria. The most common types of osteomyelitis causing bacteria in adults include S. Aureus, Enterobacter, and Streptococcus.  In severe decubitus ulcers cases the bacteria enters the body through the open wound and attacks the bone. Enzymes then release in the infected area  restricting the body's ability to heal. If left untreated, osteomyelitis can spread into the body's bone marrow and surrounding joints, leading  to further medical complications or death.
  • Gangrene is a life-threatening complication that kills the tissue around the wound and restricts blood flow. Bacteria can begin to grow immediately in the affected area if the tissue is void of oxygen and nutrients. In some injury cases, there is no effective antibiotic to stop the progression of the condition which may result in surgical debridement or the amputation of the limb.
  • Necrotizing Fasciitis is commonly referred to as the ‘flesh-eating virus. The infectious condition does not actually “eat” the flesh but causes  the surrounding tissue to die. A failure to treat necrotizing fasciitis often results in death.
  • Limb Amputation may be necessary when a patient develops an advanced stage wound. Amputation of the feet and legs may be necessary when a wound has become infected and the tissue has died.
  • Death. Patients can die from a bedsore and their related complications. When a pressure wound results in the patient's death, surviving family members may be entitled to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against the skilled nursing facility, hospital, or medical facility where the wound developed.

It is crucial that staff treat decubitus when detected to prevent the wound from worsening. If staff allow the wound to progress from the early stages through nursing home neglect, the pressure wound can be much more difficult to heal as the wound deepens, compromising the patient's well-being.

Pressure Sore Injury FAQ

Please review the following FAQ's related to pressure sores in nursing homes.
Of course, should you have additional questions about the condition of your loved one, we welcome you to contact our law firm for a free consultation with an experienced attorney.

Are Bedsores a Sign of Nursing Home Abuse?

The development of a pressure wound in a nursing home resident could be the sign of abuse or neglect by the  nursing home staff.
 
This condition develops when pressure is applied against the skin when lying in bed, seated in a chair, or putting one leg over the other for an extended time with limited mobility. Minimal movement restricts blood flow and can cause significant damage to vulnerable skin and its underlying tissue.

Why do Bed Sores Develop in Nursing Home Residents?

Why do Bed Sores Develop in Nursing Home Residents?Bedsores develop when pressure is put on the skin for long periods. They cut off blood flow in the underlying area and cause other problems. Here is a set of common causes.
  • Pressure. Prolonged force on the body will lessen blood flow. Blood flow is critical in order to bring oxygen, nutrients, and other things to underlying tissue and vital organs.  Nursing home patients that are physically disabled are at risk when they are confined to a hospital bed or wheelchair.  This can trigger wounds when that force breaks the skin and then the underlying area including muscles, tissues, and organs.
  • Shearing. Shearing is when two things move in opposite directions. That force creates stress on the body.  If a person is in bed or on a chair all day, they might slip down and that can cause shearing. Yet, it may come about in different ways altogether. It is important to check for this issue as it can cause serious damage.
  • Friction. Friction occurs when things rub up against people. This can be from a medical device, linens, clothes, or something else.  Certain factors make friction even more seriously including moisture. It is important to make sure that people with limited mobility are secured in their position to reduce friction or shearing risks.

Are Bedsores in Nursing Home Residents Always Preventable?

According to state and federal law, nursing homes and other facilities must take a variety of steps in order to stop patients from getting bed sore. These rules mostly outline how skin break down is to be spotted and treated.

Normally, hospitals and long-term care facilities are the ones governed but others might have certain responsibilities as well. The bottom line is that with proper nursing home care, they are preventable.

Here is exactly what they must do.

If nursing home residents do not yet have bedsores, then the facility must provide a) a holistic assessment and b) a prevention plan that c) manages tissues and other body parts for the prevention of skin ulcers unless it is completely unavoidable due to their health.
If patients do have bedsores, then the facility must a) avoid positioning the patient to put weight on the sore, b) create a repositioning schedule to avoid making the sores worse or creating new sores, and c) use pressure-reducing techniques like water, foam, or alternating air.

What are the Stages of Bedsores?

Bedsores are 'graded' or 'staged' so staff in a nursing home or hospital can track a wound and implement proper medical care. The staging system is standardized using objective information to provide a standardized level of care.
Stages of bed sores

Stage 1 – Initially, a pressure wound appears as a persistent area of red skin that may itch or hurt and feel warm and spongy or firm to the touch. Stage I wounds are superficial and go away shortly after the pressure is relieved.

Stage 2 – At this point, some skin loss has already occurred — either in the epidermis, the outermost layer of skin, in the dermis, the skin’s deeper layer, or in both. The wound is now an open pressure sore that looks like a blister or an abrasion, and the surrounding tissues may show red or purple discoloration.

Stage 3 –By the time a skin ulcer reaches this stage, it has extended through all the skin layers down to the muscle, damaging or destroying the affected tissue and creating a deep, crater-like wound.

Stage 4 –In the most serious and advanced stage, a large-scale loss of skin occurs, along with damage to muscle, bone, and even supporting structures such as tendons and joints. Stage 4 wounds are extremely difficult to heal and can lead to lethal infections commonly identified as sepsis, even with aggressive medical attention. Particularly in patients with physical disabilities stage 4 bedsores may develop on:
  • Tailbone, hips, or buttocks
  • Shoulder blades and spine
  • Heels
  • Back of the head or ears
 
Occasionally, a pressure wound may be categorized as ‘unstageable’. Unstageable pressure wounds are usually referred to as an extremely advanced wound where there is the involvement of skin, muscle, and bone and the amount of dead tissue simply makes evaluation of the wound impossible.

How do You Win a Bed Sore Case Against a Nursing Home in Chicago, IL?

In order to win a Chicago bedsore case against a nursing home, hospital, assisted living or other long-term care facility, you must show that the a) defendant’s wrongful conduct b) caused or worsened your skin break down, and that c) they had no excuse for such acts.

Normally, this will take the form of a negligence lawsuit.

Negligence cases argue that the defendant acted unreasonably and damaged the plaintiff. You must show that the other party breached a duty owed  to you and that breach created harm.

With wound cases, here are some acts that might qualify as negligence and allow you to sue a nursing home for their negligence.

  • The facility did not conduct an initial assessment for skin breakdown.
  • The facility did not devise a plan to detect, prevent, and treat wounds.
  • The hospital did not follow its own plan of care.
  • The patient developed the bedsores while at the place or the sores got worse.
  • The facility did not follow the doctor’s instructions or failed to coordinate with the proper medical personnel.
  • The facility did not properly or frequently rotate the plaintiff in order to prevent bedsores from emerging.

There are other examples of negligence that might cause decubitus ulcers. Yet, these are some of the most common forms that lead to bedsores lawsuits.

How Much is an Illinois Nursing Home Bed Sore Lawsuit Worth?

An Illinois nursing home bedsore lawsuit might be worth more than a million dollars. They average as much as several hundreds of thousands of dollars in Illinois.  

Illinois law allows the victims of bed sores to recover compensation for economic damages (medical expenses) and non-economic damages (pain and suffering and disability).


What Are Some Examples of Successful Bedsores Settlements and Lawsuits Against Nursing Homes?

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$500,000;  New Jersey: In this nursing home bedsores lawsuit, an elderly person was transferred to a hospital after staying in the nursing facility. He lived in that facility for about one month. He had wounds in Stage II when he arrived at the hospital. While there, his wounds progressed. They began to seep down into his bones.He died not long thereafter of sepsis. His estate sued the hospital and nursing facility.


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$$29,100,000; California: The plaintiff, in this case, was in her late seventies. She was battling Alzheimer's. At the facility where she was living, she fell. The facility staff did not discover this for over a week. She was soon moved to a hospital. Once there, her doctors found a decubitus ulcer. Despite surgery, she died not long after from an infected sore.


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$575,000; Illinois: The victim in this dispute was an elderly nursing home resident. She suffered a stroke and was moved to a facility. Her doctors noted a risk for skin breakdown after her transfer. In fact, some bedsores had already developed. Yet, the staff took no action.


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$$2,000,000; Pennsylvania: In this tragic story, bedsores were the perpetrator of a woman's death in addition to related complications like infection and malnutrition.After the lady passed away, her estate sued the negligent parties at the nursing home where she was living prior to her death. The estate charged the facility with many allegation of abuse and neglect and failing to prevent wounds.

Hiring a Chicago Nursing Home Bed Sore Lawyer

Most bedsore lawsuits against nursing homes claim that nursing staff did not do an adequate job caring for the patient. While the underlying reasons may be complex, under-staffing and inadequate training of staff are recurring themes in lawsuits.

Our nursing home negligence attorneys have experience litigating and settling cases involving the development of pressure ulcers in all care facilities, including nursing homes and hospitals both within Illinois and throughout the country.

Our law firm is currently representing clients in Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, Lake County, Will County, Aurora, Naperville, Orland Park, and Schaumburg.

Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC can evaluate all sensitive information in your bedsores case and advise you of your legal rights, with  an emphasis on timely and effective resolution of your case.

Contact our law offices now through the contact form or phone call at (888) 424-5757 to schedule a free consultation with our elder abuse injury lawyers.

All information you share with our Chicago law office remains confidential through an attorney-client relationship.

During the Covid-19 pandemic we encourage you to contact us via chat or email so we can schedule a video conference. Of course, we welcome you to call us as well.
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