Bedsores, also called pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers, are an injury resulting from the breakdown of skin and tissue as a result of prolonged pressure to the skin. Bedsores tend to occur in nursing home residents who are confined to wheelchairs, are bedridden, or otherwise immobile. Bedsores that have developed into critical stages, meaning there is a deep tissue loss, can lead to grave, and sometimes fatal complications.
If your loved one has died at a nursing home or assisted living facility, and at the time of death, suffered from a severe bedsore, whether you will have a claim will depend on two factors:
First, did the nursing home’s negligence cause the bedsore to develop or did the nursing home fail to treat the bedsore properly? Second, did the bedsores proximately cause your loved one’s death?
Unlike other types of nursing home injuries, liability for bedsores is generally easy to determine. Bedsores are almost always preventable with appropriate care and observation. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are required to assess the risk of bedsores and take precautions to prevent development. This may include repositioning, utilizing specialized mattresses, or appropriate handling of residents when transitioning or moving. If a bedsore has developed, there is a good chance that the facility has been negligent.
Still, to have a wrongful death claim against the facility, the bedsore itself must be linked to the death. This can be done by analysis of the medical records, death certificate, and other information surrounding your loved one’s passing. Many times, the death certificate will assert that the bedsores are in the causal chain of events leading to the death. Other times, an independent expert or physician, upon review of the records, will make the connection through testimony or affidavit.
So for example, if ‘sepsis’ or ‘septic shock’ was the immediate cause of death, and the preceding cause of the sepsis was the pressure ulcer, then there is an excellent case that the bedsores are the actual, but-for cause of the death. If the nursing home or assisted living facility was negligent, then in this case there is a viable claim for wrongful death.
Linking the bedsores to the cause of death may be more difficult where your loved suffers from multiple life-threatening ailments. We often find that it is important to study the symptoms leading to the passing, and linking the symptoms to the ailment, in order to pinpoint the actual cause.
If your loved developed bedsores and then passed away at a nursing home or assisted living facility, and you are wondering if you have a claim, then please, feel free to call and speak to one of our experienced Georgia nursing home neglect lawyers today. Our consultations are always free.