Stage 3 Bedsores
A bedsore, also known as a pressure sore, is categorized into one of four stages at the time of diagnosis. A stage 3 bedsore is the second-to-last stage, meaning it is the second-most severe class of bedsore. It is not a minor or mild injury and should not be taken lightly. It is important for a patient with a stage 3 bedsore to receive immediate medical attention. If you believe you or a loved one’s stage 3 bedsore was caused by neglect, such as at a nursing home, find out if you can take legal action by consulting with an attorney.
What Is a Bedsore?
A bedsore or pressure ulcer is caused by a loss of blood flow (and the oxygen that is carried by the blood’s cells) to the tissues due to prolonged pressure on one part of the body. This lack of oxygen can damage or destroy the body’s tissues in the affected area, creating an injury. Those who are most at risk of bedsores are the elderly, the infirm, the immobile and the injured. Anyone who is on bedrest or confined to a bed or wheelchair for long periods can develop pressure injuries.
How Serious Is a Stage 3 Bedsore?
A stage 3 bedsore is a serious injury that requires professional medical care. It is an ulcer that has developed past stages 1 and 2 in depth and severity. If left untreated, it could further decline into stage 4, which is a life-threatening medical condition. A stage 3 bedsore has damaged deeper tissues than the top two layers of skin and affected the layer of fat (subcutaneous tissue) underneath. It is an open wound with a high risk of infection. Due to the nature of a stage 3 bedsore, an infection could enter the bones or blood and even travel to the heart.
What Does a Stage 3 Bedsore Look Like?
A doctor will diagnose a stage 3 bedsore based on the symptoms presented. Bedsores are categorized based on the depth of the wound. Staging the wound will help a doctor create the right treatment plan for the patient. A stage 3 bedsore may have the following symptoms:
- An open sore that looks like a crater
- Visible fat tissue (not muscle or bone)
- Light skin tones: red tissue around the wound
- Dark skin tones: purple or blue tissue around the wound
- Black-colored tissue in or around the sore (necrosis, or dead tissue)
- Foul odors
- Signs of infection, such as pus, red streaks, heat or fever
- Greenish fluid or pus oozing from the sore
- Skin in the area that is warm to the touch
The patient may not be in pain with a stage 3 pressure sore, as the wound may have damaged the nerves enough to dull the pain. If you can see muscle tissues or bone when looking into the sore, this is not a stage 3 bedsore but a stage 4.
How Do You Treat Stage 3 Pressure Sores?
As is the case with all bedsores, immediate treatment is critical for a stage 3 sore. As soon as the signs of a stage 3 pressure ulcer are detected, the victim should go to a hospital for professional medical care. These are serious injuries that should not be treated at home. Treatment for a stage 3 pressure sore typically includes:
- Immediately alleviating pressure, such as through repositioning or a special mattress
- Removing dead tissue (wound debridement)
- Cleaning the wound using water or saltwater
- Bandaging the wound in gauze or foam
- Administering antibiotics to fight infection
- Changing the patient’s diet to aid in recovery
It takes longer to recover from a stage 3 bedsore than a stage 1 or 2 wound. The typical recovery time ranges from one to four months. A doctor can provide a more specific prognosis upon treating the patient.
Can Pressure Sores Lead to Death?
Yes, in the most severe cases, a pressure sore can be fatal. When left untreated, stage 3 or stage 4 bedsores can open the door to life-threatening infections. Most deaths caused by pressure ulcers occur in patients who are at least 75 years old. The most common comorbidity that leads to fatal bedsores is septicemia, or sepsis. This is a condition where the body has a severe response to an infection caused by germs entering the bloodstream. Other common comorbidities are incapacitating chronic conditions and neurodegenerative conditions.
Are Bedsores Caused By Neglect?
Bedsores are often associated with neglect, as the proper care of a patient or nursing home resident can generally prevent pressure ulcers from forming. Bedsores occur most often in those who are neglected by caretakers. Proper patient monitoring, regular repositioning and prompt medical care by nursing home staff can prevent these wounds. A bedsore that has progressed to stage 3 is especially indicative of neglect or abuse, as the wound has gone ignored or unnoticed through the earlier two stages. A Los angeles elder abuse attorney can help piece together the facts of the situation and chart a legal path forwards.
If you believe that your loved one has developed a bedsore due to the neglect of another party, such as a nursing home in California, your family may be entitled to financial compensation. You can bring a lawsuit against the nursing home for causing the bedsore and allowing it to progress to stage 3. These are acts of negligence, meaning a reasonable and prudent nursing home would not have committed them. A nursing home abuse attorney in Los Angeles can help you collect proof of neglect to support your family’s bedsore lawsuit, such as medical records and expert testimony.
How Much Are Stage 3 Bedsore Cases Worth?
Many nursing home bedsore lawsuits are settled privately, with the amount of the settlement remaining confidential. However, many are worth anywhere from a few hundred thousand dollars to several million, depending on the specific facts of the case. It is important to speak to an attorney before agreeing to a settlement with a nursing home’s insurance provider, as the insurer may try to take advantage of you and devalue your claim.
An attorney from Rose, Klein & Marias can determine the true value of your bedsore lawsuit and help you fight for maximum financial compensation for your related losses. You may be eligible for compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, emotional damage, legal fees, and more. If you tragically lost your loved one due to a fatal stage 3 bedsore, we can help you bring a wrongful death lawsuit instead. Learn more about stage 3 bedsore claims during a free consultation with our attorneys. Call (866) 679-7512 today.