Can bed sores cause death?



Bed sores, also called pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers, are injuries to the skin and underling tissue resulting from pressure on skin. Bed sores often occur when nursing home residents are immobile or bedridden and develop on parts of the body that make the most contact with surfaces- tailbone, ankles, heels, and hips.

Bed sores develop in four stages. In stage one, the skin begins to turn red and may feel warm. It may be painful to the touch. In stage two, the wound opens as the skin breaks down. In stage three, the wound area becomes deeper as more tissue begins to die. In stage four, there is large scale tissue loss.

When bed sores progress to the later stages, they can lead to other complications that are fatal for nursing home residents. Three of the more common deadly problems arising from bed sores are osteomyelitis, sepsis, and gangrene.  

Osteomyelitis: This condition is an infection of the bone. The infection starts at the affected tissue, moves into the bloodstream, and then travels to the bone. Often the infection can begin in the bone at stage 4.  

Sepsis: Sepsis is a condition in which bacteria from the bed sore enters the bloodstream an infects other parts of the body. Sepsis may lead to organ failure and death if not treated quickly.

Gangrene: This is a condition where the body’s tissue dies due to loss of blood supply. In residents with bedsores, the loss of blood supply is the result of infection from the wound area.

Without fast, proper treatment, these three conditions may lead to death. In fact, in cases of septic shock, the mortality rate is as high as 50%.

If your loved has passed away at a nursing home or assisted living facility, and you are wondering if it was a result of bed sores, then please, feel free to call and speak to one of our experienced Georgia nursing home neglect lawyers today. Our consultations are always free.