Putting your loved one in a nursing home or even the hospital is an act of trust. It’s unavoidable sometimes—your loved one might have care needs that you simply cannot meet on your own. What do you do when you spot bedsores on your loved one? Is this evidence of nursing home abuse or medical malpractice?

What Are Bedsores?

“Bedsores” are sores that form when continuous pressure on a certain part of the skin results in tissue damage. Bedsores might form if you remain in the same body position for a long period of time. The fact that these injuries typically form in bedridden people explains how the informal term “bedsores” became popular. Unfortunately, bedsores can grow progressively worse without treatment.

Why Are Bedsores Evidence of Neglect?

Bedsores are often evidence of neglect because it is reasonably easy to avoid them by changing a person’s body position in bed every so often. If a hospital patient or nursing home resident develops bedsores, their caregiver might not have charged the position of their body for a long time.

Bedsores are not evidence of active abuse unless a caregiver intentionally fails to change the patient or resident’s body position as a form of discipline or punishment.

Hospitals and Nursing Homes: The Duty of Care

Hospitals and nursing homes must exercise a standard, “common sense” duty of care towards patients/residents. Medical personnel, by contrast, must exercise a professional level of care toward their patients. A court will evaluate the conduct of a doctor against what a “reasonable doctor” would have done under the same circumstances.

What Is Nursing Home Neglect?

Federal nursing home regulations apply to nursing homes that accept Medicare or Medicaid. Kentucky nursing home regulations fill any gaps that federal regulations fail to cover.

You don’t have to uncover any specific regulatory violations to build a claim for nursing home neglect, although it helps. Nursing home neglect is any failure to act that violates the duty of care, whether or not it violates a regulation.

Liability for Bedsores in Lexington, KY

Legal liability for bedsores is typically based on negligence. If it happens in a nursing home, you can classify it as a form of nursing home abuse. You can seek the following types of damages from the facility:

  • Economic damages: Medical expenses and other easily quantifiable losses constitute economic damages.
  • Non-economic damages: Pain and suffering and other forms of psychological harm constitute non-economic damages. Non-economic damages are likely to far exceed economic damages in terms of dollar amount.
  • Punitive damages: Kentucky courts seldom award punitive damages, and they never do so in response to ordinary negligence. To win punitive damages you must show fraud, oppression, or malice. Punitive damages might apply, for example, if the facility or one of its staff deliberately used neglect as a form of “discipline” against the patient or resident.

The financial compensation for nursing home neglect can be substantial.

Wrongful Death

Can bedsores kill you? As a matter of fact, they can, although death from bedsores is not particularly common. Untreated bedsores can become a deep, open wound that can cause serious infection and, eventually, death. This is especially likely among elderly people with weak immune systems.

If your loved one died from untreated bed sores at a hospital or a nursing home, you very likely have a wrongful death claim against the facility. In Kentucky, the personal representative (executor) of the victim’s estate must file a wrongful death claim. If the victim was under 18 years old, one or both parents can join in the lawsuit. Wrongful death compensation usually adds up to a lot of money.

Contact a Lexington Personal Injury Lawyer ASAP for Legal Help

If you have noticed what appears to be bedsores on your loved one, you need to confirm it as soon as possible. If that is what they are, step one is to get your loved one out of that healthcare facility immediately so that the abuse does not continue.

Step two is to begin building a legal claim against the institution so that your loved one receives appropriate compensation and so that the healthcare facility will think twice about abusing others in the future. Contact a Lexington, KY, personal injury lawyer as soon as you can.

If you or a loved one has been hurt as a result of nursing home abuse, please call Minner Vines Injury Lawyers, PLLC for a free case evaluation with a personal injury lawyer or contact us online.

Minner Vines Injury Lawyers, PLLC
325 W Main St #210, Lexington, KY 40507
(859) 550-2900