Austin Pressure Ulcer Attorney
Legal Guidance for Austin Families Affected by Pressure Ulcers
When a patient confined to a bed or wheelchair is too weak or sick to move on their own, they must rely on a caregiver to regularly lift and reposition them. Routine repositioning prevents the skin from having unrelieved contact with the surface of the bed or chair. At Brown, Christie & Green, our Austin pressure ulcer attorney knows well that caregivers do not always take preventative measures.
Many caregivers do not follow proper protocol for repositioning patients. The result is development of pressure ulcers, which are painful, can become infected, and can be life-threatening. If you or someone you love has suffered from a preventable pressure ulcer, contact our Austin pressure ulcer attorney to learn more about your legal rights.
Pressure Ulcers are preventable when clinical guidelines are followed.
Understanding Pressure Ulcers
A pressure ulcer (sometimes called a bedsore or decubitus ulcer) will not develop overnight. Pressure ulcers develop in stages when skin is allowed continuous and uninterrupted contact with a surface. Without proper preventative care, friction will cause irritation, and that will eventually lead to an open, oozing sore.
Pressure ulcers are categorized according to their symptoms and severity, and are broken down into stages. These include:
- Stage 1: At this stage, only the surface of the skin is irritated. Blood flow has been interrupted but with attentive care, a Stage 1 pressure ulcer can be reversed leaving no lasting damage.
- Stage 2: The outer layers of the skin begin to die. Your loved one has been experiencing uncomfortable pressure and pain for some time. Shallow craters appear as the outer layers of skin die and fall away. This is the time to contact an Austin pressure ulcer attorney before more severe damage occurs.
- Stage 3: Deeper layers of the skin are involved, and at this point a pressure ulcer will appear as an open, bleeding wound. As with any open wound, the body is now open to infection. This is the stage at which pressure ulcers can lead to sepsis and other life-threatening complications.
- Stage 4: This is the worst stage of a pressure ulcer. A Stage 4 pressure ulcer destroys all the layers of the skin and exposes the muscle and bone underneath. Imagine the pain and suffering involved as patches of skin slowly die to reveal underlying structures. Pressures ulcers of this type are almost exclusively caused by gross neglect and should receive the prompt attention of an Austin pressure ulcer attorney.
Pressure ulcers are horrifying injuries, made only more unacceptable by virtue of being completely preventable. A healthy person confined to a bed has the strength to, more or less, reposition himself as needed, avoiding development of a pressure ulcer. However, an immobile patient’s skin can be pressed to a bed in the same position indefinitely without attention from a responsible caregiver.
If your loved one develops a pressure ulcer in a hospital or nursing home, contact the Austin pressure ulcer attorney at Brown, Christie & Green. You risk nothing by contacting us, as we will consult on your case for no cost.
- Reposition patients every two hours
- Keep skin clean, dry, and moisturized
- Use pillows to reduce pressure
- Exercise to keep muscles and joints healthy
- Maintain a healthy diet and hydration
Pressure ulcers are completely preventable by following clinical guidelines while caring for patients.
Preventing Pressure Ulcers
The Joint Commission has weighed in on pressure ulcer prevention, and has offered prevention strategies based on information from the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP). These strategies are included in the NPUAP “Pressure Injury Prevention Points“, and include:
- Risk Assessment – Every patient should be assessed for risk factors including a history of pressure ulcers, vascular problems, or a history of conditions like diabetes.
- Skin Care – Patients should be provided with adequate skin care. This includes regular skin inspections, cleaning, moisturizing, and avoiding sensitive pressure points when positioning.
- Nutrition – While ill, injured, or in the hospital, patients are at a greater risk of being undernourished. Proper nutrition is important to maintaining healthy skin.
- Mobilization and Positioning – Immobility is the greatest factor in pressure ulcer development. Patients should be turned or repositioned at routine intervals. Caregivers should consider the patient’s overall health, weight, and skin condition.
- Monitoring, Training, and Leadership – The prevalence of pressure ulcers should be monitored. Healthcare teams should be educated about pressure ulcers, and trained in how to prevent, recognize, and treat them.
If you have questions or concerns about the care you or a loved one has received, contact Brown, Christie & Green to learn more about patient rights. You have the right to quality care that meets guidelines and standards. Don’t wait to find out if you are entitled to compensation for pressure ulcers caused by negligence.