Bed Sores/ Pressure Ulcers

San Diego Bedsores/ Pressure Ulcers Attorney

What Are Bedsores & Pressure Ulcers?

Nursing home bedsores — also known as pressure sores, pressure ulcers, or decubitus ulcers — are caused by neglect. 

Pressure ulcers are caused by a lack of blood flow and oxygen to the skin, resulting from continuous pressure on a particular area of the body. They usually develop on areas with prominent bones beneath thin layers of skin, such as the coccyx, sacrum, lower back, and heels. The severity can range greatly, from mild bedsores appearing as just minor skin reddening, to severe bedsores appearing as deep wounds exposing muscle and bone.

Bedsores are very painful and uncomfortable, and your loved one should not have to suffer through them. 

Thus, if you believe an elderly loved one is suffering from a pressure ulcer, ​contact​ ​Joel R. Bryant by calling (619) 597-2577 today. You may have a case for nursing home neglect and should speak with a San Diego bed sores/ulcers attorney as soon as possible. We also serve clients in Los Angeles and throughout Southern California.

Are Bedsores Avoidable?

Bedsores or pressure ulcers are easily avoidable if the elder is cared for properly. They are caused by the pressure of the elder’s body pushing against the bed, wheelchair, or other furniture they are sitting or lying on for long periods of time (generally, two hours or more). Unfortunately, many elders are susceptible to pressure ulcers, as a majority of nursing home patients have severe physical limitations that inhibit them from moving around easily.

The primary thing that a nursing home care provider needs to do to keep an elder from getting a bedsore is rotate them to a different position about every two hours. In doing so, the area under pressure changes regularly, allowing for better blood flow to each region of the body and greatly reducing the chances of a pressure sore from developing.

No matter the severity, any development of a bedsore is a sure sign of neglect that should be addressed immediately. Nursing homes can even take steps to further reduce the risk for their most vulnerable patients developing bedsores by simply providing a specialty pressure relieving mattress or pad for the elder to lie or sit on. By doing so, pressure between the elder’s body and the bed, wheelchair, or furniture will be significantly reduced, lowering their risk of developing these painful and life-threatening sores.

What Are the Four Stages of Bedsores?

The four stages of pressure ulcers are progressively more serious. Each stage can quickly turn into the next if left untreated, so it is important to be able to recognize the signs, as described above, and quickly get medical attention for your loved one. 

Stage One

This is the least dangerous stage, but it can quickly become deadly if proper care is not immediately taken. 

Stage one can best be recognized by:

  • Mild irritation and redness of the skin (the redness does not blanch)
  • Skin temperature is warmer in the irritated area
  • Skin may also be more firm or softer in the irritated area than the surrounding skin

If recognized quickly, stage one treatment is very simple, as that specific area simply needs pressure relief, and the skin can be washed gently with soap and water. However, even in stage one, it is always best to consult with a medical professional to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment.

Stage Two

This stage is much more painful and severe than stage one, as it is defined by the skin breaking open.

Signs of stage two bedsores include:

  • Breaking open of the skin
  • Blistering of the skin
  • Open wounds that form ulcers

In each of these scenarios, the skin becomes very painful to the touch. Stage two is often treated by soaking the damaged skin in a saline solution. Unfortunately, the skin has already suffered irreversible damage, as the tissue has been starved of blood flow and other nutrients and has begun to die off. This skin is removed to allow the ulcer to be exposed to oxygen and heal itself. However, it can take weeks for the exposed ulcer to be sealed by the skin, as it takes longer for an elder’s body to repair itself.

What Causes Sepsis in Nursing Homes?

With stage three and four bedsores, sepsis can enter an elder’s bloodstream if the sore is left untreated or improperly treated. Sepsis is a clear sign of neglect in nursing homes, as it is an indication that an injury has persisted for a long enough time to become life-threatening.

Can Bedsores Lead to Death?

Bedsores and pressure ulcers can quickly become fatal if improperly treated and if a sepsis infection develops and becomes fatal. When a death occurs as a result of such neglect and mistreatment, it can be deemed a ​wrongful death​, which gives the deceased’s family a right to compensation.

Where Do Pressure Ulcers Typically Appear?

Bedsores will often appear in areas where the elder’s body weight is putting the most pressure against whatever it is that they are sitting or lying on for long time. 

The most common places a bedsore will form are:

  • Ankles/heels/toes
  • Back/shoulders
  • Tailbone/sacrum/coccyx
  • Elbows

What Are the Signs of Bedsore Formation?

Here are symptoms that indicate the formation of a bedsore, if occurring in a high-pressure area such as the ones listed above:

  • Painful or irritated skin
  • Reddish or discolored skin
  • Lack of blanching in the skin (skin does not lighten when pressure is applied, indicating lack of blood flow)
  • Blistering
  • Open wounds
  • Unusually soft or firm skin

When pressure from body weight is applied to an area of an elder’s skin for just two hours, blood flow can be reduced significantly, thereby cutting off oxygen to that area of the skin and causing the elder’s skin to die. When this occurs, deeper tissue begins to die if left untreated, which can lead to very severe pressure ulcers that result in exposed muscle and even bone. When the pressure sore grows, there is a higher risk of developing sepsis, a life-threatening bacterial infection in the bloodstream.

What Are Some Complications of Pressure Ulcers?

Bedsores can become a life-threatening condition if left untreated. This is particularly true when the pressure ulcer becomes infected and the resident develops sepsis. This is why it is crucial to contact an experienced, trusted attorney as soon as you discover that your loved one is suffering from bedsores.

Stage Three

This stage is defined by a much deeper wound than stage two; however, there appears to be no bone, tendon, or muscle involvement with the wound itself. 

Signs of stage three bedsores include:

  • Wounds extending into deep layers of broken skin
  • Deep, small, crater-like wounds that appear to have dead fatty tissue inside

Stage three pressure ulcers are very difficult to treat, especially if they occur somewhere that normally would be hard to keep pressure off of, such as the back. 

At this stage, bedsores can be treated with methods of debriding (removing the dead tissue to let the wound heal) that require surgery. After surgery, the wound is then covered to reduce the risk of infection.

Contact Joel R. Bryant as soon as possible if one of your friends or family members has developed pressure ulcers. Mr. Bryant and his legal team hold nursing homes accountable and will take your case to trial if necessary. ​


Call (619) 597-2577​ for a free case consultation. By taking action today, you could prevent further abuse by the wrongdoers and hold them accountable.


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    From nursing home neglect to financial elder abuse to will & trust fraud, we provide full-service litigation for elders and their families.
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