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Pressure Sore Claim

A pressure ulcer (also known as a bedsore or pressure sore) is the medical term for an injury to the skin and underlying tissue, primarily caused by prolonged pressure on the skin.

They can happen to anyone, but usually affect people confined to bed or who sit in a chair or wheelchair for long periods of time.

It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of people develop pressure sores each year whilst in hospital or private nursing care – a huge figure as in most cases pressure sores are preventable with proper assessment and nursing care.

Pressure sores can affect any part of the body that is put under pressure. They are most common on bony parts of the body, such as the heels, elbows, hips and base of the spine (known as the sacrum).

They are painful and debilitating and can cause serious harm. They often develop gradually, but can sometimes form in a few hours.

Anyone can get a pressure ulcer, but the following things can make them more likely to form:

  • Increased age - being over 70 – older people are more likely to have mobility problems and have skin that is more easily damaged through dehydration and other factors
  • Confined to bed - with illness or after surgery
  • Inability to move some or all of the body (paralysis)
  • Obesity
  • Urinary incontinence and bowel incontinence
  • A poor diet
  • Medical conditions that affect blood supply, make skin more fragile or cause movement problems – such as diabetes, peripheral arterial disease, kidney failure, heart failure, multiple sclerosis (MS) and Parkinson's disease

It is the care provider’s responsibility to ensure that anyone at risk of developing pressure sores receives the proper care to prevent the condition occurring.

If they do not assess the risk properly or fail to implement a plan to reduce the risk to you or a loved one you may be entitled to claim compensation.

Early symptoms of a pressure ulcer include part of the skin becoming discoloured – people with pale skin tend to get red patches, while people with dark skin tend to get purple or blue patches; discoloured patches not turning white when pressed; a patch of skin that feels warm, spongy or hard; and pain or itchiness in the affected area.

A doctor or nurse may call a pressure sore at this stage a category one pressure ulcer. If left unattended, and the pressure isn’t relieved, they can progress to:

  • an open wound or blister (category two pressure ulcer)
  • a deep wound that reaches the deeper layers of the skin (category three pressure ulcer)
  • a very deep wound that may reach the muscle and bone (category four pressure ulcer).

Category one and two bedsores are not always preventable, however, with good nursing care they can usually be prevented from reaching category three or four.

As with any open wound, they can lead to infection, particularly in the later stages.  For those patients, they can be serious and lead to life-threatening complications.

Patients should be regularly monitored and offered advice and treatment to reduce the risk of pressure ulcers, however they can sometimes develop even with the highest standards of care.

Most people are unaware that they may be entitled to financial compensation for the pain and suffering caused by pressure sores.

We have achieved awards of damages for clients and for families of people who have passed away, but developed pressure sores in the later stages of nursing care.

We can suggest whether or not you are able to make a claim. We offer a free initial meeting, where you can discuss the matter with a legal expert, see if you have grounds for a claim and determine if would like to proceed. Contact us at medicallaw@wake-smith.com or on 0114 266 6660.

Medical & Clinical Negligence Team

Terry Regan
Director & Head of Department

John Vallance

Kate Lax

Scott Haslam

Natasha Lindley

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