A decubitus ulcer (bedsore, pressure ulcer, pressure sore) is caused by lack of circulation in the skin from the pressure of staying in one position too long, particularly if the pressure is over a boney part of the body. Patients who are bedridden and wheel chair bound pose the highest risk for developing decubitus ulcers.
If a decubitus ulcer is left untreated and advances to stage three or four, complications can arise that result in sepsis and death. These complications are:
- Cellulitis – infection from the decubitus ulcer spreads to the deeper layers of the skin. Pain, redness and swelling of the skin develop requiring treatment with antibiotics. If left untreated, the infection can spread to the blood, bone or joint. In rare cases, it can lead to meningitis.
- Blood Poisoning – infection from the decubitus spreads to the blood and other organs and is a medical emergency requiring ICU treatment. Most cases result in septic shock, which can lead to death.
- Bone and Joint Infection – infection from the decubitus ulcer spreads to the bones and joints under the decubitus ulcer causing damage to the cartilage, tissue and bone. Serious cases require surgical removal of infected bones and joints.
- Necrotizing Fasciitis (“flesh-eating” bacteria) – occurs when the decubitus ulcer is infected with a certain type of bacteria such as Group A streptococci.
- Gas Gangrene – occurs when the decubitus ulcer is infected with the clostridium bacteria that produces gases and releases dangerous toxins causing severe pain and rapid swelling of the skin. Amputation of the affected body part is often required in serious cases.
Most patients who develop decubitus ulcers are often the victims of inferior and substandard hospital, nursing home or assisted living facilities.
Decubitus ulcers are easy to prevent and effectively treated if recognized during the initial stage. Poor training and lack of knowledge of decubitus ulcers by the medical staff often causes decubitus ulcers to escalate to serious complications, even sepsis and death.
If you are a loved one are a victim of decubitus ulcers caused by medical staff negligence, contact me immediately for a free consultation or second opinion at 312-888-6058.