Are Bedsores A Sign Of Medical Negligence In Florida?
Individuals who are disabled or hospitalized may experience long periods of inactivity, either sitting or lying down to accommodate whatever medical condition has rendered them immobile. Unfortunately, the human body was not meant to remain in these positions for an extended time. A person may develop bedsores, medically defined as pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers. These injuries to skin and underlying tissues occur because the pressure of gravity limits blood flow to the affected areas. Muscle and fat cushion some of this pressure, but bedsores often develop around the heels, ankles, hips, and other bony areas.
Prevention of bedsores is easy for individuals in reasonably decent physical shape: Move and reposition yourself. This is not so simple for immobile individuals who rely on medical professionals for care. If you or a loved one developed pressure ulcers under such circumstances, you may have a claim under Florida medical malpractice laws. The relevant concepts are based upon negligence, and a Tampa medical malpractice lawyer can explain the following in more detail.
Basis for Medical Malpractice Claims
Though Florida’s medical negligence statute is similar to the laws in other US states, it is important to understand the specifics on what you have to prove. To recover compensation, you must show that you developed bedsores while under the care of a medical professional, and these injuries were the direct result of negligence by that health care provider.
The statute defines “negligence” as a breach of the professional standard of care that applies to that health care provider. In other words, you measure your own physician’s actions against those of a hypothetical physician. If there is a difference between the actions of two practitioners who have the same level of care, skill, and treatment, there may be a case for negligence.
Prevention of Bedsores
There are multiple care strategies for preventing pressure ulcers, and it is not difficult to determine which patients require such attention. When health care providers know how to avoid causing injuries and are aware of a patient’s needs, there is no excuse for bedsores to develop.
Proper prevention strategies may include:
- Repositioning the patient about once per hour in a bed, chair, wheelchair, or sofa;
- Placing the patient in a specially fitted wheelchair that tilts to relieve pressure;
- Properly cleaning, drying, and moisturizing skin in areas prone to bedsores; and,
- Elevating a hospital bed to prevent shear, i.e., the friction between two surfaces – the skin and linens.
Prevention of bedsores is not always possible, even with exercise of proper care. However, it may be negligence if health care providers fail to respond to symptoms, such as swelling, lesions, and open wounds.
Speak to a Florida Bedsores Attorney About Your Legal Options
Pressure ulcers are not always a clear sign of negligence, but you may be entitled to compensation when health care providers do breach the standard of care. To learn more, please contact Greco & Wozniak P.A. at 813.223.7849 or via our website. We can schedule a free consultation at our offices in Tampa, FL.