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Bedsores: Bad luck or bad care?

C ONCERN has been raised about the frequency of bedsores - also known as pressure sores or ulcers - in NHS hospitals and in care homes.

The situation has been highlighted as a major problem by the European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel who have launched "Worldwide STOP Pressure Ulcer Day" on 16 November 2012.

Research in 2007 showed that in the UK, 21.9% of patients surveyed had pressure ulcers, a figure that was significantly higher than in some other European countries, with Italy scoring just 8.3% and Portugal 12.5%.

Many patients do not necessarily realise that they have been the victim of negligence through substandard care, having been led to believe that it was just bad luck.

Bedsores are a disaster. They occur due to reduced blood supply in certain 'pressure areas', such as the back of the head, buttocks and heels, when the patient is left to lie in one position for too long. The skin breaks down and sometimes the tissue underneath dies, resulting in excruciating pain, immobility, infection risk and even death.

In the UK in 1986, 171 death certificates listed pressure ulcers as a cause of death, with 1929 further death certificates stating that they contributed to death.

The research above suggests that the problem has not gone away Bedsores are almost always avoidable.

Proper nursing care - ensuring that there is a pressure-relieving mattress, monitoring and a regime for changing the patient's position - should all be routine, but sadly they are not.

In a claim recently settled by Lees for a six-figure sum, a paraplegic was left too long in A&E on an inadequate mattress with no regime for changing position. The NHS Trust admitted negligence.

Lees have also recently settled a claim for an elderly lady who developed a pressure sore to her lower back, following an admission to hospital, for over PS20,000.

Fiona Kemp, Partner at Lees Solictors LLP notes that "most bedsore claims are indefensible. In serious cases, compensation can run to over PS100,000 because of the high cost of caring for the victim, and even in lower value cases, significant damages are awarded for the unnecessary pain and discomfort that the patient has suffered."

It is essential to find a lawyer who has experience in dealing with complex medical claims, and who knows the right questions to ask to get to the heart of the issues. Lees are always happy to hear from people with possible bedsore injuries or any other medical negligence enquiries. Leave it to Lees to make things a little easier for you and your family. Why not get in touch on 0800 387 927, email newclaim@lees.co.uk or visit our new website www.lees.co.uk?

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Anyone can get bedsores, not just the elderly
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Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Date:Nov 22, 2012
Words:464
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