New Mexico Bed Sore Lawyer

If suspect that your elderly loved one suffered stage 4 pressure sores while residing in a care facility, you should talk to a New Mexico bed sore lawyer to find out if you can pursue a claim. Call Will Ferguson & Associates today.

The most avoidable nursing home injuries are bed sores and pressure ulcers, which are frequently brought on by elder abuse and neglect. Every day, one in ten nursing home residents suffers from bed sores, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Bed sores can cause serious, sometimes fatal infections if they are not promptly treated. 

Untreated skin pressure causes the skin tissue to break down, which frequently leads to infections and can result in death.

The unfortunate truth is that nursing home negligence is common in the United States. Even though bed sores and pressure sores can be avoided with proper attention and care, nursing homes frequently neglect to take the necessary steps to ensure that their patients don’t get them. This often leads to the development of serious pressure sores that are very painful and sometimes lead to fatal infections.

Families put their trust in nursing homes to provide quality care for their aging or disabled loved ones. It is never an easy decision to place an aging family member in a nursing home, but such a decision is made to ensure the safety and well-being of our loved ones. The last thing they expect is for their elderly family member to be neglected, especially to the point of forming painful bed sores.

If you or a loved one experienced severe bed or pressure sores while in a nursing home's care, the New Mexico nursing home negligence lawyers at Will Ferguson & Associates may be able to assist you in getting justice. Our trial lawyers have experience representing clients in court, and we can assist you in pursuing damages for injuries you or a loved one may have sustained. Contact us about your case right away to see how we can help.

Where Do Bed Sores Most Commonly Occur? 

When a person is immobile in a nursing home or care facility, bed sores frequently appear on certain body parts. Here are the most common areas where bed sores occur:

  • The back of the head
  • The upper back 
  • The shoulders
  • The sacrum and
  • The sacrum and
  • The back of the foot and heal of the foot

The Four Stages of Bed Sores

Bed sores, also known as pressure ulcers, are categorized into stages based on their severity. These stages are as follows:

Stage 1: The bed sore is just beginning to form and appears as a small red spot. The skin is intact, but the area looks similar to a rash. If caught before deteriorating, a Stage 1 pressure ulcer can often be treated without much damage.

Stage 2: Stage 2 bed sores are now open, presenting like scrapes or blisters. Since the wound is not yet deep, it can be treated similarly to Stage 1 but may leave scarring.

Stage 3: If a pressure ulcer is not caught and treated in the first two stages, it will worsen into a Stage 3 ulcer. At Stage 3, the injury has created a crater and reaches the fat beneath the skin. However, it has not yet reached the tendon, muscle, or bone. Now the bed sore presents serious health risks to the patient, and will likely take an outside wound care team to treat it.

Stage 4: If a pressure ulcer reaches stage 4, it is now a severe, cavernous injury reaching the muscle and bone. This poses a very serious risk of damage to tendons and joints as well as a risk of infection, osteomyelitis, and sepsis.

Unstageable: These bed sores are so severe that the depth of the injury cannot be fully seen. These are often deep Stage 4 bed sores that simply cannot be measured.

Deep Tissue Injury: A deep tissue injury is a bed sore that develops from the inside. These can be very difficult to detect because they form deep inside the tissue, leaving the skin intact. By the time they open up, they leave behind massive crater wounds.

The Importance of Staging and Recording Bed Sores

Assigning bed sores to stages based on severity is incredibly important. This is because it establishes the method of care needed for each patient. All facilities are required to report bed sores that have reached stages 3, and 4, or are unstageable. Recording this information helps to determine the course of treatment and what options a patient has. Unfortunately, this does not always happen, as facilities try to shirk their liability. 

Photographing bed sores is crucial to bed sore neglect claims, as doing so provides evidence that the bed sore existed, when it developed, and how it moved through the stages. 

If you or someone you love is experiencing bed sores, make sure to document everything as best you can. If you are unsure what stage the pressure ulcer falls under, contact one of the bed sore attorneys at Will Ferguson & Associates. We can analyze the data and obtain medical records to determine the severity of neglect and abuse and better prepare for your bed sore claim.

What is Bed Sore Nursing Home Negligence? 

Deep bed sores develop on the skin when a patient does not receive adequate care. It is important to note that bed sores are completely preventable injuries that cause unnecessary pain and suffering and are almost always a symptom of patient neglect.

Also called pressure sores or decubitus ulcers, bed sores most commonly happen in nursing homes and hospitals as a result of nursing neglect. These injuries are unacceptable, and if left untreated, can result in sepsis, osteomyelitis, and many other health complications. If the wounds are bad enough, they can even lead to death.

The difference between bed sores and many other types of injuries is that bed sores almost always indicate neglect because they are usually preventable, even in bedridden patients. Nurses are responsible for repositioning patients to avoid bed sores, but due to understaffing and/or a lack of training, patients are not always attended to as often as required. This is typically due to a corporate decision to cut costs and maximize profits, leaving many elderly patients at risk.

Additionally, studies done by the National Center on Elder Abuse show that 25% of the elderly population within institutional settings are being physically abused or neglected. What's worse is that very few of these cases are actually reported, which means that nursing homes and assisted living facilities are rarely being held accountable for their actions and endangerment of such a vulnerable population.

Bed sore lawsuits can push neglectful facilities to change and practice better care for their patients. Therefore, filing a lawsuit does much more than just help you and your family; it helps create a better environment for everyone.

If your loved one developed pressure sores while under professional care, report the incident immediately. Contact the New Mexico personal injury attorneys at Will Ferguson & Associates to learn about your legal options. You may be able to file a civil claim against the at-fault hospital, assisted living facility, or nursing home responsible.

New Mexico Bed Sore Related Regulations

Many federal and state regulations are in place specifically for bed sore prevention in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Facilities must assess patients upon admission and create a proper care plan, which includes prevention of and treatment for bed sores. Caregivers must give the necessary treatment to heal pressure ulcers, prevent infection, and prevent any new sores from forming.

New Mexico also requires patients to be provided with proper hydration and mobility. Adequate hydration and the patient’s ability to motate play a large part in the prevention of pressure ulcers. While in the care of a nursing home or hospital, any significant change in a patient's condition must be reported so that nurses can give the necessary care.

If a patient has experienced neglect at the hands of a staff member, that staff membercould face criminal charges under the New Mexico Resident Abuse and Neglect Act. If you suspect your family member was neglected or abused, report it to the authorities immediately. If that abuse or neglect resulted in the death of your loved one, you should speak with a knowledgeable New Mexico wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible to get justice and ensure it doesn't happen to someone else. 

How Do Bed Sores Form?

Bed sores generally develop due to a patient’s inability to motate. Bed sores are caused by improper hydration, improper nutrition, and inedequate hygiene. Bed sores result from pressure in a particular area of the body, which restricts blood flow. The most commonly found area on the body for bed sores are the heels, buttocks, back, and head.

When a patient cannot move in bed on their own, it becomes the responsibility of a nurse to reposition the patient regularly and make sure bedding and clothing are dry at least once every two hours. This repositioning makes sure that body weight is distributed evenly and that pressure doesn’t stay on one place on the body too long, preventing the occurrence of bed sores.

The standard of care regulations require regular repositioning because if patients are left unmoved for too long, not only can these pressure ulcers form, but if their bedding or clothing is wet, infections can form and cause permanent damage and even death.

The Main Causes of Bed Sores in Nursing Home Patients

The main cause of bed sores in elderly nursing home patients is neglect. Some examples of nursing home neglect and elderly abuse include the following:

  • Failure to turn and reposition the patient often enough to take pressure from the affected area
  • Failure to provide adequate fluids and nutrition to the immobile resident
  • Failure to keep the skin in the affected areas clean, dry and free from urine and feces
  • Failure to provide proper attention to an area that showed signs and symptoms of a pressure ulcer

Facts About Facility-Acquired Bed Sores

  1. All nursing homes are required to record any bed sores that appear in their facilities. Lack of documentation can point to a more significant problem within the facility.
  2. Many health insurance companies won't reimburse a facility for medical care for pressure ulcers because they are preventable. This can lead to some facilities providing poor care for existing bed sores since they are not receiving financial reimbursement for the care.
  3. It is much easier to prevent bed sores from happening than to treat them once they've appeared.
  4. More than half of patients that develop pressure ulcers die within a year.
    • The most common cause of death from bed sores is wound infection, sepsis (blood infection), or osteomyelitis (bone infection). Many other conditions can form that may not lead to death, but are all still very serious injuries:
    • E. Coli
    • Cellulitis
    • Septic arthritis
    • Staphylococcus aureus
    • Proteus mirabilis
    • Pseudomonoas aeruginosa
    • MRSA

What Does a Bed Sore Feel Like?

If you discover that a loved one has pressure ulcers, you might wonder whether it is worth filing a claim over the discomfort. It can be easy to downplay the debilitating pain for those who have never experienced it. bed sores begin as mild irritation but can quickly progress to so much pain it’s nearly impossible to bear.

These injuries should not be taken lightly. They are much more serious than a scrape or rash, and if they become infected, they often lead to death. We here at Will Ferguson & Associates don't believe anyone should have to face this kind of pain due to the negligence of others. 

Bed Sore Statistics in Assisted Living Facilities and Hospitals

Bed sores should never happen inside a facility, nursing home, or hospital. But according to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 1 in 10 nursing home residents have a pressure ulcer. Only 35% of patients with a stage 2 or higher bed sore receive appropriate treatment for their injuries.

Bed sores most commonly affect residents under the age of 65 who have been in the facility for less than a year. Additionally, patients that experience recent weight loss, high immobility, recent bowel or bladder incontinence, and more than eight medications all have a greater prevalence of pressure ulcers. They also occur more frequently in males than in females, but the percentage is marginal.

These figures point to the severe threat to public health these negligent practices have on patients in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Research has even shown that patients with bed sores are 2 to 6 times more likely to die from the bed sore than they are from cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are often understaffed, and their nurses are sometimes under-trained in their duties. This negligence sometimes has deadly consequences. The cost of treating a bed sore was recently estimated at nearly $38,000. Because of the expense, treatment within facilities is disincentivized.

 Who is at Risk for Bed Sores?

Bed sores happen more often in nursing homes and assisted care facilities than within hospitals. This is because hospitals tend to have more staff and more highly trained healthcare professionals than what is found inside nursing homes.

Things that increase the risk for bed sores are:

  • Aging. Our skin thins as we age, which allows minor irritations to become a much larger problem than in younger patients.
  • Nerve disorders. Those with nerve disorders cannot always feel the pain and discomfort that urges the need to change position in bed.
  • Incontinence. If a patient lacks bladder control, they may be left to lay in the moisture created. This increases the risk of not only bed sores but infections too.
  • Malnutrition. When patients are malnourished, it increases the chances of bed sores and lowers their ability to fight off infections, making bed sores more challenging to treat.
  • Diabetes and vascular disease. These diseases are dangerous for bedridden patients, as they accelerate the development of the wounds created. They also reduce blood flow and make pressure ulcers much more severe.
  • Smoking. Nicotine restricts blood flow and circulation, which keeps blood from reaching the affected areas, exacerbating wounds that have already been created.

Preventing Bed Sores

Knowing how to prevent bed sores may help you if you or a loved one are ever under the care of a nursing home, assisted living facility, or hospital. You will know what to look out for and may be able to speak with the facility so that they can provide the proper care to you or your family member.

Ways to prevent pressure sores include:

  • Reposition the patients at least every two hours
  • Use creams or ointment on a forming bed sore to help it heal and remain clean
  • Use a donut cushion when the patient is in a wheelchair
  • Invest in an air-loss mattress to reduce pressure on the affected areas
  • Use a wound vac on existing pressure ulcers to reduce the chances of infection
  • Make sure patients are receiving the proper nutrition

The Role Nutrition Has on Preventing Bed Sores

Evidence shows that poor nutrition can be a significant contributor to the development of bed sores. Even small dips in nutrition can affect the body's ability to heal, so it is crucial that nurses carefully monitor a patient's nutrition level to prevent skin breakdown. Proper nutrition not only reduces the likelihood of pressure sores forming but also can improve healing times if they already exist.

The nutrients most important to bed sore prevention are

  • Protein
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin C

Patients should eat a variety of meat, eggs, and dairy for protein and zinc, and lots of fruits and vegetables to boost vitamin C levels. If a patient cannot eat solid food, there are feeding alternatives available to ensure your loved one is getting the nourishment they need to remain healthy.

Filing a Bed Sore Lawsuit in New Mexico

Healthcare experts have all agreed that bed sores should never occur within hospitals or care facilities as they are entirely preventable. Unfortunately, because of this, more and more people are filing lawsuits over the obvious neglect that led to these injuries.

The rate of pressure ulcers appearing in nursing homes and assisted living facilities points to a widespread, systemic issue of patient neglect. This makes filing a lawsuit about so much more than financial compensation; it is about exposing a serious problem within our country’s healthcare industry.

Contact one of our bed sore lawyers at Will Ferguson & Associates to learn about your legal rights.

New Mexico Statute of Limitations

Bed sores fall under the category of personal injury. In the state of New Mexico, the Statute of Limitations on personal injury claims is three years. This means you have three years from the time the incident occurred to file your lawsuit and receive compensation.

The sooner you file your lawsuit, the sooner you can receive your settlement and begin healing from the experience.

Proving Liability for Bed Sore Claims in New Mexico

Those that develop bed sores often do so as a result of negligence. Lack of movement, poor hygiene, and undertrained staff all play a part. Filing a lawsuit holds nursing homes and assisted living facilities accountable for failing to prevent or care for bed sores.

In order to prove a facility was liable for your loved one's injury, you must show that:

The facility owed your loved one a duty of care

The facility breached its duty by failing to follow a proper standard of care

The breach caused your loved one to suffer unnecessarily due to bed sores

Compensation for Nursing Home Abuse in New Mexico

You or your loved one deserve better than the neglectful treatment you received at a nursing home, assisted living facility, or hospital. Bed sores should never happen. Speak to one of our bed sore lawyers to learn more about what compensation you may be entitled to.

Damages may include:

  • Medical bills
  • Court costs
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and Suffering

You deserve a full settlement to pay for damages caused by the neglect and abuse of another party. Don't hesitate to give us a call.

How Will Ferguson & Associates Can Help You

Our bed sore lawyers want to see you and your family taken care of following the poor care you received in a nursing home, assisted living facility, or hospital. We know that pressure ulcers are preventable injuries that should never happen. We want to see this broken system fixed, and we want you to receive just compensation. We will help you every step of the way. Contact Will Ferguson & Associates today for a free consultation to learn what your legal options are.

If you or your loved one has experienced inadequate care which led to bed sores while under the supervision of a nursing home, assisted living facility, or hospital, contact Will Ferguson & Associates for a free and confidential consultation. You pay nothing until the claim has been settled.

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