Failure to prevent the development of a pressure sore in patients who are vulnerable may be considered to have been negligent if the patient develops a life-threatening condition.
Pressure sores in hospital
Patients who are likely to require an extended and immobile stay in hospital, especially those who may be overweight or have difficulty moving themselves, are at a greater risk than other patients of developing a pressure sore.
Such a development can be catastrophic and life-threatening for the patient and needs to be avoided at all costs.
All patients should be assessed for their risk of developing a pressure sore on their admission into hospital and then treated accordingly.
Those patients considered to be at significant risk may need the following strategies to be implemented:
- A high-specification foam mattress designed to ease the pressure on those areas of the body which might be susceptible to developing sores
- Regular re-positioning either every four or six hours to avoid excessive pressure on those key areas
A neglected pressure sore, or bed sore, can become an access point for life-threatening bacteria.
Necrotising fasciitis can be caused by a wide range of pathogens which may be relatively benign outside the body but can cause devastating havoc once they reach the patient’s deep, soft tissue. A failure to treat necrotising fasciitis within hours will lead to widespread tissue death and possible multiple organ failure.
Even with treatment, mortality risks are high and survivors are likely to be physically and psychologically scarred.
The prevention of pressure sores should, therefore, be an extremely high priority in a hospital setting and a patient who develops necrotising fasciitis due to a failure to prevent, observe or diagnose a pressure sore might be able to make a claim for compensation.
Diagnosing necrotising fasciitis
Anyone can develop necrotising fasciitis but certain categories of patients are at particular risk and any signs of a pressure sore in those patients should be taken extremely seriously.
At-risk groups would include the following:
- Patients who already have a weakened immune system
- Patients who are diabetic
- Patients already suffering with on-going liver or heart conditions
The symptoms which should raise a suspicion of necrotising fasciitis and prompt an immediate investigation would include the following:
- Intense pain in the region of the infection, which might be the region of a pressure sore
- Tenderness, swelling and redness in that same area
- Symptoms of infection such as a high temperature and fa heartbeat.
A failure to consider the possibility of necrotising fasciitis in such patients may prove to be fatal or, at best, life-changing.
If you or a loved one have suffered the appalling impact of necrotising fasciitis due to a failure to prevent or respond to a pressure sore, you may wish to consider making a claim for compensation.
Contact us at Glynns Solicitors to discuss your situation with a specialist medical negligence solicitor. We will be happy to advise you.