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Law Office of Robert Gibson
9408 Arlington Expressway
Jacksonville, Florida 32225
Local: (904) 273-3000
Toll Free: 1-800-4 LAW DOC

Bed Sores / Pressure Ulcers

At The Law Office of Robert Gibson, PA we take bedsores seriously. It is estimated that each year, more than 2.5 million people in the United States develop pressure ulcers.  If  you have a loved one who has a medical condition that limits their ability to change positions frequently, or is confined to a wheelchair or bed for prolonged periods, they are at risk of developing bedsores. Every precaution should be taken to avoid bedsores, as they are a serious condition that can cost a loved one their life.

What are Bed Sores or Pressure Ulcers?

These are areas on the skin, most often seen over bony parts of the body such as ankles, heels, hip, knees, spine or buttocks that are damaged due to continuous sustained pressure on the skin and underlying tissue. When the skin and underlying tissue become trapped between the bone and any other surface such as a wheelchair or bed restricting blood flow, it starves the tissue of oxygen and nutrients provided in the blood.  When there is inadequate blood circulating to these areas, the affected tissue and skin begin to die.

Stages of Bed Sores

In order to help standardize the reporting and encourage effective communication between medical personnel caring for patients, bed sores are categorized based on their severity (Stages I through IV). The four most widely accepted stages are described as:

• Stage I: Initially, a pressure sore appears as a persistent area of reddened skin which may hurt, itch, feel warm and spongy or firm to the touch. Stage I wounds are superficial and usually go away shortly after the pressure is relieved. 

• Stage II: At stage II, some skin loss has already occurred. The wound is now looks like an open blister or an abrasion. There may red or purple discoloration around the surrounding area. Stage II sores usually respond to treatment well and heal fairly quickly. 

• Stage III: By the time a bed sore reaches this stage, it has created a crater-like wound which has deeply extended down through the skin layers to the muscle, damaging or destroying the affected tissue. This is a very serious condition which needs aggressive treatment.

• Stage IV: This is a seriously advanced stage wound, from which many patient’s never recover. This stage leaves gaping holes, exposing damaged muscle, bone, and even supporting structures such as tendons and joints.  These wounds are extremely difficult to heal and can lead to lethal infections. It is estimated that only 62% of Stage IV bed sores ever heal.

• Unstageable:  Wounds may sometimes be labeled as “unstageable”. An unstageable bed sore is usually referred to as an extremely advanced wound where there is involvement of skin, muscle and bone but the actual depth of the ulcer is completely obscured by slough and/or eschar in the wound bed. Until enough slough and/or eschar are removed to expose the base of the wound, its true depth it cannot be determined, and thus the term unstageable exists.

The Treatment and Prevention of Bed Sores

While mostly preventable and treatable if found early, pressure ulcers can be very challenging to prevent in critically or terminally ill patients, frail elders and the disabled who rely on wheelchairs.  Prevention centers around the ability to redistribute pressure by turning or repositioning the patient regularly. The benefit of turning to avoid further sores is well documented. Additionally, proper nutrition and keeping the skin dry and free from exposure to urine and stool is very important.

Warning the following illustration is graphic and you may find disturbing. It is intended to illustrate the devastating effects of not repositioning a bed ridden patient.  If  your loved one is suffering the effects of a bed sore, call us at 1(800) 4 LAWDOC or (904) 273-3000 - Free Consultation

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9408 Arlington Expressway
Jacksonville, Florida 32225
Local: (904) 723-0001
Toll Free: 1-800-4 LAW DOC
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