Pressure damage and clinical negligence
Jul 2021
Clinical Negligence

Pressure damage and clinical negligence

Sophie Moss
Solicitor, Clinical Negligence

Pressure damage, pressure ulcers, bed sores, pressure sores… there are lots of different medical terms used to describe injuries to the skin and underlying tissue suffered by patients because of prolonged pressure on the skin. ‘Pressure damage’ can be distinguished from ‘moisture damage’ which causes injuries to the skin if the skin remains moist for prolonged periods of time.

Pressure damage develops when a patient is left in the same position for extended periods of time as pressure builds on their skin. Although pressure damage can happen to anyone, it usually affects people confined to their bed or to those who sit in a wheelchair, or another chair, for long periods of time each day.

Pressure damage can occur anywhere on the body but is most commonly seen developing in bony areas such as the heels, hips, sacrum (base of spine) or elbows.

Some pressure damage develops gradually but, in some cases, damage can appear and start to deteriorate within a few hours. Injuries usually start with blanching or discolouration to the skin and pain or itchiness. Although the skin may not be broken at first, if pressure damage deteriorates, the injury can develop into a deep open wound or blister which is then susceptible to infections such as sepsis. In some cases, the pressure damage and consequent infection can be fatal.

With appropriate assessment, at the start of a patient’s admission and throughout, and appropriate nursing care and preventative measures being put in place, pressure damage should not develop.

How we can help

We have one of the leading Clinical Negligence Teams in the North East, dedicated to helping claimants in clinical negligence claims. Our team has decades of experience dealing with claims involving pressure damage which has developed, and deteriorated, whilst a patient is in a care facility such as a hospital or care home.

Compensation for pressure damage clinical negligence claims can include not only compensation for the pain and suffering caused to the patient by the pressure damage, but also additional costs of nursing care or equipment that may be required to assist the patient’s recovery.

When you are ready, you may wish to speak to one of the sympathetic solicitors in our team for guidance and advice. For more information on any of the above, or how we can help you or family, please contact a member of our Clinical Negligence team on 0191 232 8345.

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