An investigation carried out by Daily Mirror found that £16 million has been paid out by health chiefs to patients suffering from bedsores through hospital neglect. NHS Litigation Authority data shows damages totaling £16,340,099 has been paid out to 706 patients since 2003. Legal costs have also added millions more to the cash-strapped NHS expenses.
Bedsores are agonizing ulcers that can be easily avoided if the patients are moved regularly. They only develop when a patient is left for hours in the same position and are telltale evidence of neglect. Bedsores eat right through the skin and muscle tissue of the neglected patients; they expose bone as well as organs and can produce life-threatening complications.
In 2011, according to the Office for National Statistics, the agonizing ulcers contributed to the deaths of 227 care home residents and 540 hospital patients. They were the main cause of death in 39 care home residents and 78 hospital patients that year. Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that payouts more than doubled in the last five years, from 49 in 2007 to 111 in 2013. Cost of compensation for this year alone was four times the amount paid out 10 years ago, £2,684,860. “It’s a sign of neglectful care and under-staffing,” says Peter Walsh Action Against Medical Accidents.
Bedsores are a failure of nursing and easily avoidable. They develop when blood flow is restricted to the skin from staying in one position too long. The lack of nutrients and oxygen to the area cause the tissue to break down. Also known as pressure ulcers or pressure sores, they tend to afflict patients with health conditions that make it hard to move. Regular assessment and turning patients when necessary avoids the vast majority of bedsores. Particularly vulnerable to bedsores are people over the age of 70 as they generally have mobility problems and ageing of the skin.
Bed Sore FAQ (http://www.bedsorefaq.com) is provided by Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, who regularly represent the elderly and people with disabilities in cases involving the development of pressure sores during an admission to a nursing home, hospital or assisted living facility.
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