Bed sores form when a person lays immobile in the same area for long periods. The skin is pressed against the bone in the body and a hard surface, and the blood circulation to that area is reduced, at which point an ulcer is formed beneath the surface of the skin. If this decubitus ulcer […]
Category : Complications
Serious Life-Threatening Complications Caused By Bed Sores
Any complication associated with a developing bedsore can create a prolonged hospital
stay, lasting intense pain and a diminished quality of life. Pressure sores usually occur
on bony prominences, where blood flow circulation has been restricted for an extended
period of two hours or more. Without proper treatment, the localized affected area often
has significant skin damage where the necrotic tissue creates an open wound. The
elderly, critically ill individuals, diabetics and those suffering with mobility issues are at
greatest risk of developing a bedsore with complications.
A bedsore (pressure sore; decubitus ulcer; pressure ulcer) initially displays as
persistently red, broken or blistered skin. As it begins to develop, the condition can
extend to the patient’s underlying structures including bone, ligaments and muscle. At
an advanced stage, the pressure sore can be exacerbated by friction, sheer and
pressure. Without proper treatment, the patient can easily suffer severe cellulitis (deep
tissue infection), osteomyelitis (bone infection), gangrene, sepsis (blood infection) and
necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating bacteria).
The infection caused by the bedsore can easily spread to the deep layers of skin causing cellulitis. In addition to redness and extreme pain, significant swelling can occur on the patient’s skin. Without an effective course of antibiotics, the patient can suffer serious life-threatening infection that can easily spread to the joints, bones and bloodstream. If the cellulitis occurs on the sacrum or lower back, the infection can easily penetrate into the spinal column and eventually the brain.
Infection to the bone (osteomyelitis) and joints (septic arthritis) can cause significant damage to the patient’s bone, tissue and cartilage. Typically, the only effective treatments are heavy doses of specific antibiotics or surgical removal of joint and bone tissue.
Gangrene is a serious but rare life-threatening infection produced by the gas emitted from clostridium bacteria. This type of bacteria flourishes in damaged body areas with minimal or no oxygen at all. The bacteria produce harmful gases releasing dangerous toxins into surrounding tissue. Usually, the victim suffers significant pain where the skin swells at a rapid pace. Without surgical debridement, where the dead and infected skin is removed, the patient will likely need amputation of every affected area to ensure the gangrene does not spread throughout the body.
Sepsis is a common complication in patients suffering from pressure sores. This serious blood infection can rapidly progress throughout the body causing organ failure and death. Without proper management, the patient can suffer septic shock, where they have a 50-50 chance of survival. Common symptoms involve a fever, lethargy, agitation, anxiousness, diminished awareness and loss of appetite.
If the bedsore becomes infected with Group A Streptococci bacteria, it can produce necrotizing fasciitis, a life-threatening condition that causes the rapid death of affected tissue. Often referred as “flesh eating” bacteria, necrotizing fasciitis requires immediate medical treatment that often involves surgical debridement (removal of dead tissue) and specific antibiotics.
Squamous cell carcinoma is a serious complication of non-healing, chronic wounds like an advanced stage pressure sore. Typically, the cancer is extremely aggressive, where effective treatment requires surgery.
Specialized Treatment Necessary to Prevent the Progression of Wound Severity and Ultimately Death
The mortality rate is high for patients suffering serious complications associated with a pressure sore. Unfortunately, evaluating osteomyelitis and other serious conditions associated with bedsores is often inaccurate, even by trained medical staff at the nursing home, assistant living facility or hospital.
When misdiagnosed, the patient can suffer additional serious complications or death. Because of that, it is essential to hire skilled medical professionals who specialize in treating pressure sores. Without it, the patient can experience increased pain, reduced quality of life or death.
Nearly every type of advanced stage bedsore is preventable. When a patient acquires a pressure sore while staying at the facility, it is often an early warning sign of neglect. Without immediate legal intervention, the patient could die. Because of that, many families will hire skilled attorneys to stop the neglect and hold those responsible accountable for their actions.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers at (888) 424-5757 can evaluate every aspect of your bedsore
case in an initial, no obligation consultation. Because pressure sores can advance to
deadly stages quickly, it is imperative to take immediate action by calling our legal team
Bed sores most often begin as small areas of softened tissue that might be painful to touch. As they develop, they become more painful. An open wound begins to form that resembles a shallow crater, which will only get deeper as the stages progress. The further along a bed sore has progressed, the more difficult […]
A resident of Peoria went into St. Anthony’s Medical Center in Rockford for surgery to repair bilateral fractures in the spring of 2003. A year later, he died from complications due to pressure sores after losing the lower part of his left leg as part of the effort to keep him alive. When most people […]
The Journal Carrier reported on a recently filed Illinois lawsuit against Jacksonville Convalescent Center involving the death of an 87-year-old man at the facility. According to reports, the Illinois nursing home lawsuit was filed based on the poor care provided by the nursing home contributed to the patients death. Despite having multiple medical conditions such as: […]
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Unlike most personal injury cases where a determination regarding the monetary damages an individual or family is entitled to receive is determined by a judge or jury, damages in an increasing number of nursing home negligence cases is now being made via an individual arbitrator or panel of arbitrators. Many nursing home patients may unknowingly […]
Although not frequently encountered, bed sore (also know as: pressure sore, pressure ulcer or decubitus ulcer) patients are at risk for developing a type of skin cancer known as squamous carcinoma. Doctors and scientists are still researching the connection between the development of bed sores and cancer, but the underlying belief is that bed […]
Yes. Cellulitis is a bacterial (usually staph or strep) infection in the skin and the underlying connective tissue that usually is associated with pain, swelling and discoloration. Patients with open wounds caused by bed sores are susceptible to contracting cellulitis as the wound provides easy access for the bacteria to enter the body. When left untreated, […]
Autonomic Dysreflexia (or hyperreflexia) is a dangerous condition that can occur with bed sore patients or patients with spinal cord injuries above the middle of the chest (usually above T-5). Autonomic dysreflexia occurs when an irritation or pain (frequently caused by bed sores) below the level of the spinal cord injury sends a signal that […]
Elderly nursing home residents, especially those suffering from other diseases such as bed sores, have a higher risk of developing amyloidosis, a disease which can damage various tissues and organs. This can cause dangerous complications in residents who are already weak from advanced age or underlying disease. Amyloidosis is a group of diseases caused by abnormal […]
Yes. Gangrene is a complication that may develop due to the death of tissue in and around the bed sore. Severe bed sores may result in the reduction of blood flow in and around the wound. The reduced blood flow increases the ability of bacteria to grow. Bacteria produce toxins that the body is unable […]
In cases involving severe bed sores (also referred to as: pressure sores, decubitus ulcers or pressure ulcers) on the buttocks or sacrum, a physician may recommend a surgical procedure to prevent fecal material getting into the wounds. The surgical procedure is referred to as a ‘colostomy’ or ‘diverting colostomy’. A colostomy is a major surgical […]