Written by

Michael Blakemore-Carson - Senior Litigation Executive

Patient Claim Line’s Michael Carson, explores the dangers of pressure sores, and explains what you should do if you think you think you or a loved one has received insufficient care which has resulted in a pressure sore.

What causes a pressure sore?

A pressure sore (also known as a bed sore or pressure ulcer) is caused when a patient is sitting or laying down in the same position for a while, whether this be in a bed, in a wheelchair, or in theatre whilst having surgery. The weight of the body on the same place starts to damage the skin and underlying tissues. They commonly develop around boney areas, such as elbows and heel, or at the base of the spine. It can take days to develop, but can start over a period of hours, especially during surgery.

Why are pressure sores so dangerous?

Because the skin starts to break down, they become open wounds, and are therefore very susceptible to infection.

What are medical professionals required to do to avoid patients getting pressure sores?

There are several ways to try and avoid them. Regular skin checks are needed, to assess any areas of concern. If there are concerns, then a patient may need to be moved regularly, to avoid pressure on one spot. Special mattresses can also be used, that are softer and use memory foam to shape around the body. There are also specialised dressings, such as hydrocolloid dressings that encourage healing, and barrier creams to protect the damaged skin.

How do pressure sore claims most commonly occur?

Pressure sores can develop at any time, but it is important that medical staff recognise the issue and take appropriate steps, which may include getting a Tissue Viability Nurse involved. If these steps are not taken, or a plan is set up to protect the skin but then not followed, this can give rise to an entitlement to a claim.

What are my rights if I have experienced a problem with a bed sore that could have been avoided?

You have the right to bring a claim for compensation against the hospital or private clinician who failed to take the appropriate steps.

How do I go about making a pressure sore claim?

Contact Patient Claim Line and we will guide you from the start. We will take the stress out of bringing a claim and help you towards the resolution you deserve.

Can I make a pressure sore claim on behalf of someone else?

If the injured person is a child, or someone who lacks capacity, a claim can be brought on their behalf.

What kind of compensation could I be entitled to?

Compensation for personal injuries varies immensely between individuals, based on the injuries caused and the lasting effects on you. Your claim would be valued with the use of independent expert input to assess the impact of any negligence upon you, both now and in the future.

In cases involving pressure sores, there can be a wide range of outcomes. In a case where the injury was short lived, without any consequences for future health, and did not leave scars, then the case may settle for a up to £5,000. However, in a case where there is loss of tissue and scarring, which an effect on the mobility of a limb, the case may be worth £100,000 or more.

Michael Carson is a Senior Litigation Executive at Patient Claim Line. He has experience of both bringing medical negligence claims and defending them, having worked for the NHS. To speak to an expert about your pressure sore claim, get in touch today.

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