The Increased Risk of Patients Developing Bedsores During COVID-19

Published on Dec 17, 2020 at 1:40 pm in Medical Malpractice.

Hospital room

When a patient is bound to their bed and cannot move, they are at risk of developing bedsores. Pressure sores and pressure ulcers are other words for bedsores, which are sores that form at the pressure points of the patient while lying on their bed for extended periods of time. They range from mild to severe and are ranked in severity by stages.

When a patient develops a stage 4 bedsore, they are at risk of infection and could even develop dead tissue. This is dangerous for regular patients, but especially in the time of COVID-19.

If your loved one is bedridden as well as suffers from other health conditions, they could be at a greater risk for a bedsore. If they develop one and get an infection, the outcome could be deadly. A medical malpractice lawyer from Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC can help you get the justice you deserve for the negligent care of your loved one.

Why Is the Risk Increased During COVID-19?

Bedsores are most likely to happen when a patient cannot leave their bed and needs to be turned more often to prevent pressure points from breaking the skin. While it might seem like these wounds are minor and not deadly, the opposite is true. Over 2.5 million patients each year are affected by pressure ulcers, and the National Pressure Injury Advisory Panel (NPIAP) reports that over 60,000 people die from them each year.

With COVID-19 greatly impacting the country, many hospitals have their beds filled and patients are bedridden. This makes it difficult for healthcare workers to monitor patients because they are overloaded and overworked. Healthcare professionals are worried about COVID-19 patients being at a higher risk for deadly bedsores during their stays.

Dr. William Padula, president-elect of NPIAP, foresees pressure ulcer cases increasing this year from the effects of the coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that up to 29,000 new hospitalizations per day could occur by January 2021. When a patient is admitted with a serious case of COVID-19, they will likely be placed in the ICU on a ventilator where they could develop pressure ulcers within hours.

On top of all of this, the risk factors for a serious case of COVID are also risk factors that mark a patient as more susceptible to developing bedsores. Conditions like diabetes, obesity, and old age all put patients at risk for both a severe case of the coronavirus as well as developing pressure ulcers more easily.

How Are COVID-19 Bedsores Unique?

Typically, a doctor or nurse evaluates a patient for bedsores on their back because they are lying face-up in their bed. However, COVID-19 patients who are in the ICU are placed in the prone position, or on their stomachs, to help them breathe more easily. This makes looking for pressure ulcers more difficult because they will not be in the typical locations that are usually evaluated.

The locations that nurses look for pressure sores in COVID patients are:

  • Face
  • Shoulders
  • Knees
  • Ears

The body isn’t used to supporting its full weight from the front when a person is lying down—which is why the back takes longer to develop pressure ulcers. The tissue on the front of the body is softer and more susceptible to bedsores because it’s not usually bearing the weight. That’s why nurses and other healthcare workers must constantly check on COVID patients for ulcers on the front of their bodies.

Swollen faces and intrusive medical equipment are two factors that can cause a COVID patient to be at risk for pressure sores while they’re fighting off a serious virus. On top of that, the ulcers could get infected and cause a steep drop in the patient’s health, which is why healthcare workers must be extra vigilant during this time.

Pittman Roberts & Welsh Can Help You

Bedsores can lead to serious effects on your health, and when a nurse or other medical professional could have prevented the bedsore from forming, you might want to take legal action for your suffering. When negligence is involved, you deserve compensation for the injuries and other damages you incurred.

A medical malpractice lawyer from Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC in Jackson can help you recover what you’re owed for your damages. We will fight for you to ensure that your rights are protected, and you get justice. Reach out to our office today so we can discuss your potential claim.

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