Can I Sue a Hospital for Bedsores or Neglect?
It is possible to sue any U.S. hospital for bedsores or neglect if you or a loved one did not receive the required level of care and attention that one could reasonably expect.
Patient neglect in hospitals is far more common than people realize and this can lead to a variety of problems.
Bedsores is one of these – a result of lack of movement, often because a person is bed-bound and reliant on others for movement.
If this can be proven to be due to the neglect of nurses or attendants, you may have a case for compensation.
What causes bedsores?
Bedsores are also known as “pressure ulcers”, so named because they are caused by persistent and unrelenting pressure on the skin.
This typically occurs when a hospital patient (who cannot move themselves) is kept in the same position without moving for an extended period of time.
Bedsores are small injuries to the skin that start as shallow wounds, sometimes called “stage one sores”.
Left untreated, these sores can quickly progress into deeper sores that cause considerable pain and may become infected.
While bedsores are usually seen on patients confined to a bed, they can also result from excessive time spent sitting in a chair or wheelchair.
What are the other signs of neglect in a hospital?
As well as bedsores, other signs of neglect in hospitals include:
- Unusual or unexpected weight loss, malnutrition, or dehydration
Sometimes, elderly or sick patients lose weight as a symptom of their condition. When the weight loss is unexpected or seems unnatural, it may be a sign that the patient is not receiving enough calories, nutrients, or water.
Failure to keep the patient well fed and hydrated during their stay is a sign of neglect.
- Unsanitary conditions (bed, room, patient)
If the bed, ward, hospital room or patient is not kept clean, it is usually an obvious sign of neglect that should not happen in a hospital – but sometimes does.
It creates an unhygienic, unpleasant, and unsafe environment that puts the patient at further risk.
When Is a Hospital Liable for Neglect?
Movement, adequate nutrition and hydration, along with comfortable and sanitary conditions are all essential requirements of the duty of care in any U.S. hospital.
If bedsores develop or patients develop other illnesses or injuries as a result of neglect, you may have a case for compensation.
Whether it is intentional or unintentional, neglect can cause pain and serious complications. It may result in unnecessary extra treatment or complicate a patient’s existing condition.
An absence of care such as this may be due to a lack of resources in the hospital, poorly trained staff, poor quality nursing, stressed employees not acting in the best interests of the patients, or other reasons.
Regardless, bedsores are often the result of neglect and this should not happen in a hospital.
There may be legal avenues you can take to claim compensation.
In many cases, the victim is unable to claim for themselves so it is up to a relative or appointed representative to take the initiative and sue the hospital for neglect or bedsores.
How Do You Sue for Bedsores?
Firstly, there are law firms that specialize in bedsore litigation.
Our firm, Sinel & Associates PLLC, is one such firm based in New York City. We understand the process of suing hospitals inside out and are experienced in following claims through to the desired results.
If you or someone you know has suffered neglect and/or developed bedsores in the hospital we will take the following legal steps to build your case:
- Discovery and investigation: we gather details about the circumstances surrounding the bedsores, interview witnesses, collect medical reports, and get medical experts to evaluate the injuries.
- Assess potential future damages: these include medical expenses, recovery programs, physical therapy, etc. There may be compensatory and punitive damages, depending on the circumstances.
- Fully scope the cost of your injury: we look at all of the potential expenses and determine a fair value when discussing a settlement.
Do you have bedsores or other symptoms of neglect from your time in the hospital?
If the hospital did not adequately fulfill its obligation to look after your welfare, or the welfare of someone you were visiting in the hospital, speak to a qualified lawyer.