Entrusting a loved one’s well-being to outside caregivers in nursing homes or hospitals can be a difficult but necessary decision. Sometimes, however, that trust is violated when elder abuse occurs. If your loved one has experienced elder abuse at the hands of their caretakers, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible.
At Arias Sanguinetti Wang & Team, LLP, our Los Angeles personal injury lawyers can guide clients through the process of evaluating potential elder abuse claims. In some situations, you may be able to bring an elder abuse lawsuit against a nursing home or hospital when your loved one shows evidence of severe pressure sores.
How Does California Law Define Elder Abuse?
California law defines elders, firstly, as individuals who are sixty-five years of age or older. The law provides for both civil and criminal penalties, depending upon each case. Welfare & Institutions Code § 15610 specifically states that elder abuse occurs when abuse, neglect, financial abuse, abandonment, isolation, abduction, or other treatment results in harm, pain, or mental suffering to an elder.
Physical abuse is often a particular concern for those who place loved ones in the care of nursing homes or hospitals. California law considers physical abuse to be the infliction of physical injury or pain, sexual molestation or assault, or the use of physical or chemical restraints to punish someone. Neglect occurs when a caregiver fails to adequately help with an elder’s personal hygiene, fails to provide food, clothing, or shelter, or fails to protect an elder from health and safety hazards.
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What Is a Bedsore?
Bedsores may also be called pressure sores, ulcers, or decubitus ulcers. These result when an area of the skin deteriorates because of unrelieved pressure. Several factors may come into play when it comes to bedsores:
- They can occur even with good care.
- They are generally seen above bony prominences.
- Malnutrition and immobility are common contributing factors.
- They have four stages, ranging from superficial to deep.
- Treatment calls for alleviating pressure, cleaning out the wounds, and making sure the skin area stays dry and clean.
If left untreated, bedsores can worsen and lead to complications that can become life-threatening. Common bedsore complications include cellulitis, infected bones and joints, and in rare circumstances, cancer.
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Are Bed Sores a Sign of Elder Abuse?
Although it is true that bedsores may occur even in instances of adequate care, there are certain danger signs to watch out for that may indicate elder abuse or neglect. These include the following:
- Bedsores in unusual spots like the head, wrist, or inner leg
- Malodorous pressure sores
- Bedsores found in multiple locations and on various planes of the body
- No visible signs of attempting to treat bedsore, particularly in stage III and IV pressure ulcers (i.e., significant dead tissue)
Patients who are bedbound or sedentary are typically those most at risk for developing pressure sores. Frequent repositioning, keeping skin clean and dry, and daily inspection of the skin can be crucial in helping prevent the development of bedsores. Unfortunately, some nursing homes and hospitals fail to adequately staff their facilities in a manner that provides proper care for all patients.
In such cases, you may be able to seek civil and criminal penalties against the caregiver or facility whose neglect or physical abuse caused your loved one’s bedsores. Consulting an experienced Los Angeles bedsore lawyer can help you decide whether or not to file an elder abuse lawsuit against the parties whose negligence or abuse caused the development of severe bedsores.
Contact a Los Angeles Bedsore Lawyer at Arias Sanguinetti Wang & Team, LLP
Bedsores are frequently an indicator of elder abuse in nursing homes, and understaffing is often the culprit that leads to bedsores. Bedsores that go untreated can become infected or, at worst even lead to wrongful death. Hiring the services of an accomplished bedsore lawyer may be in the best interests of you and your loved one.
Consider seeking the help of an attorney from Arias Sanguinetti Wang & Team, LLP when facing a bedsore injury claim. We are a trial Law Firm that works tirelessly on behalf of our clients. We pride ourselves in being a 100% confidential and secure outlet. One of the Los Angeles bedsore lawyers at Arias Sanguinetti Wang & Team, LLP can help evaluate your case. Contact us through our contact form or call (310) 844-9696 to arrange a consultation to discuss your legal options.