Date published: 12th May 2015

Imagine being in hospital following major surgery, which thankfully has been successful. You are on the ward recovering and desperate to return home to your family. You are dependent upon nursing staff to take care of you, but the hospital is short-staffed and under-resourced. You are left in the same position for too long and develop a pressure sore which then becomes infected. You end up spending months in pain and discomfort and are left with a permanent, unsightly scar. You then find out that all this could and should have been avoided.

Why do they happen?

Bedsores (also known as pressure sores or ulcers) affect not only elderly patients, although the elderly are more vulnerable due to decreased mobility and ageing skin, they can affect anyone who is left sitting or lying in the same position for too long, for example after an epidural, or surgery. A bedsore is caused by reduced blood supply to a ‘pressure area’ such as the back of the head, buttocks, or heels. This causes the skin to break down, forming an ulcer. In the most serious cases, pressure sores can become infected and lead to blood poisoning, gangrene and even death. Sometimes patients require long periods of dressings, antibiotics, minor or even major surgery. This can have lasting psychological effects on top of the physical consequences.

The most worrying news is that around 95% of pressure sores are avoidable. It is estimated that around half a million people develop sores each year in the UK. A BBC investigation earlier this year reported that of nearly 12,000 of serious untoward incidents reported across England, more than 40% related to pressure sores. The vast majority of these could have been avoided by appropriate nursing care – which is as simple as ensuring that patients are turned regularly, skin checks are carried out and pressure-relieving mattresses are provided. Without proper care, a pressure sore can develop in just a few hours. Due to cost-cutting measures being implemented throughout the NHS, such as unqualified healthcare assistants replacing nurses, the fear is that the problem may become worse.

Can I claim?

Pressure sores can have devastating consequences. Here at Jackson Lees Solicitors, we have substantial experience in helping people who have suffered avoidable pressure sores. We can obtain financial compensation for things such as: pain and suffering, scarring, care provided by friends and family, unnecessary expenses and loss of earnings. Compensation can range from £10 – 20,000 for a typical pressure sore case to over £100,000 for the most severe cases.

We have a dedicated team of staff who specialise in bedsore claims and we can help you claim the appropriate compensation to get your life back on track.

Contact the Medical Negligence team by clicking here for a call back or message us your enquiry.