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    Elder Abuse - Bed Injuries and Bedsores

    The age at which a person is considered to be elderly varies depending on the geographical location. In California, an individual is classified as an elder once that person has reached the age of 65. The explanation of what elder abuse is differs from state to state and in the words used to describe abusive actions or threats. In principle, elder abuse is the harm, or the threat of harm, either physically, financially, emotionally or mentally, committed against senior individuals. The source of the abuse can be perpetrated by a family member, a caregiver, medical or nursing home personnel, or a stranger.

    There are two areas of repeated concern for elderly patients and they both involve the same source of the problems: the hospital bed. It is not unusual that older patients spend most, if not all, of their time confined to a bed. This environment creates a scenario for the risk of bed injuries and bedsores. The potential risks are well known to professional and volunteer medical and caregiver personnel. Yet, too many elderly patients continue to become victims of severe bedsores and fatal bed injuries.

    Bedsores

    Pressure Ulcers is the medical term for bedsores. The sores develop at pressure points when blood blow has been restricted. When a patient’s body position is shifted or turned on a regular schedule, the pressure points are relieved and the forming pink spots will disappear in a short period of time. A more serious condition can develop when the patient’s schedule is not followed, or even completely ignored. A pressure ulcer can manifest itself deep under the surface tissue and may reach into the muscles and bones. If not treated quickly and properly, bedsores can escalate from a Stage 1 minor situation to a serious complicated Stage 4 condition with risks of gangrene or fatality.

    Bed Injuries

    Elderly patients are often confined to a bed because of frail health circumstances. The bed can be in intensive care units of hospitals, long term care facilities, home care or hospice care. Not all elderly patients confined to a hospital bed are totally immobile. Bed rails are used to keep patients with dementia, Alzheimer’s, loss of leg movement or reduced mental clarity from attempting to get out of bed and wander or crawl around. A patient can experience clumsiness due to medication or dizziness while recovering from a medical procedure. The danger comes when a patient moves about in the bed. An arm, a leg and even a head can slip between the rails. If the patient does not have the strength or mental clarity to correct the situation, it can result in broken bones, a head injury or a broken neck. If a patient’s head is caught between the railings and the sheets on the mattress, the patient can be asphyxiated if not found quickly. Elderly patients can experience falls from a bed onto a hard floor. This can cause body and head injuries.

    The time to consult with a Los Angeles elder abuse attorney is when you think that you, or a family member, have become a victim of neglect or mistreatment. This type of specialized lawyer is most effective when there is clear and convincing proof that some form of negligent behavior has occurred.

    California has a number of civil elder law codes and statues written to protect vulnerable senior patients. Someone seeking civil justice wants an elder abuse attorney who has a successful record in representing clients in patients’ rights violations claims, experience in health care malpractice lawsuits, and has won trial cases or settlements relating to patient abuse or patient fatality for the victim or for suffering family members.

    Call Baker and Oring, LLP, at (310) 822-3377 for a no cost, no obligation consultation to protect your loved one from further mistreatment and neglect.

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