Pressure sores (sometimes known as ‘bed sores’ or ‘pressure ulcers’), often affect patients who are staying in hospital for a long time and aren’t able to change position in bed on their own. The sores develop when constant pressure is placed on an area of skin. The tissue is permanently compressed when a patient is lying in the same position, and this restricts the blood supply to that part of the body causing the pressure sore to develop.
Someone who is fit and healthy is likely to move regularly, but elderly or seriously injured patients who are less able to move might need the help of medical staff to change position.
The sores can cause discolouration or blistering, and can be very painful. They usually happen around the bony ridges of the body such as the heels or hip. If left untreated, they can lead to other serious complications, such as:
To find out whether you could make a claim, or for free advice, you can get in touch with a trained legal adviser on 0800 234 6438. They’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have and can put you in touch with the right solicitor to handle your case.
Hospitals and medical staff should avoid pressure sores from developing by making sure they regularly change the patient’s position and by providing an ergonomic mattress.
If you or a loved one has suffered from pressure sores after a stay in hospital, then it means that some form of neglect has taken place.
Unfortunately, hospitals are often busy and understaffed which means mistakes are more likely to happen. According to Stop the Pressure there are almost 200,000 pressure sores developed within the NHS every year, leading to the problem being described as ‘one of the biggest patient safety challenges facing the NHS’.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) set out how medical staff should assess which patients are at risk from developing pressure sores and the steps they should take to prevent them from happening.
The guidelines include:
If you or a loved one has suffered from pressure sores due to a hospital stay and the care they’ve received, then it’s very likely an expert solicitor will be able to help you make a compensation claim.
In most cases, you have three years to start a case, beginning from when your pressure sores first developed, so it’s important to get in touch with a solicitor as soon as possible. That said, in cases where the mental capacity of the patient is limited (due to a brain injury for example) you might have longer.
The first step is to get in touch with a trained legal adviser for free on 0800 234 6438. We know that starting a claim can seem daunting – that’s why you’ll never be pressured into going ahead with your case. The legal adviser’s first priority is to answer your questions and help you understand whether you could claim.
If you decide you’d like to continue with your claim and you give the adviser your permission, they can put you in contact with one of their partner medical negligence solicitors. The solicitor will also speak to you for free and will run you through the details, before sending the other party a ‘Letter of Claim’ to let them know of your intention to seek compensation.
After they’ve received the letter, the other party will have 4 months to reply with their ‘Letter of Response’. They might accept the blame straight away and give you a compensation offer – but if they deny negligence then your solicitor will gather evidence and look to prove the case was their fault.
The amount of compensation you receive can vary hugely. This is because injury solicitors look at each case on an individual basis, to make sure you receive the full amount of compensation you need to cover the financial costs of your injury and the wider impact it’s had on your life. When working out your compensation, a solicitor will take two main factors into consideration:
Once your solicitor has gathered some information about your claim, they’ll be able to let you know roughly how much compensation you might expect to receive.
Your claim will be made against the NHS, or if you were treated privately it’ll be made against the owner of the practice. A claim against the NHS will be dealt with by NHS Resolution, the organisation which defends claims against the service. The NHS accepts the rights of patients to complain and, if need be, to receive compensation.
In both cases, a medical examination will be carried out and this, alongside the records of the treatment you received, will be used to prove the other party was negligent.
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If you win your case, your solicitor's success fee will be taken from the compensation you are awarded - up to a maximum of 25%. Your solicitor will discuss any fees before starting your case.