Sadly, just because we're in a hospital doesn't always mean we're getting the best treatment. Understaffing, neglect, or negligence can produce poor treatment, even leading to easily preventable maladies like bedsores or pressure ulcers.
Simple measures like frequently turning an immobile patent, proper cleaning, and hygiene can prevent bedsores, so if those steps are not taken, is the hospital's fault? Can you sue if you or a loved one develop bedsores in a hospital?
Bedsores and Medical Malpractice
Any time a medical professional fails to diagnose or treat a patient properly, the patient could have a medical malpractice claim. While malpractice can often include claims of misdiagnoses, incompetent treatment, and even bizarre disposal of body parts, it can also include cases of neglect, where no treatment is given.
Hospitals, physicians, and other medical staff owe patients a standard of care equal to their expertise. If a medical professional fails to meet this standard, he or she could be at fault for medical malpractice. If a patient develops bedsores while in the care of a physician or hospital, that could be evidence of malpractice.
Hospitals are corporations that employ an extensive medical staff, including licensed physicians and other licensed health care providers, such as nurses, physician's assistants, and nurse practitioners. As such, hospitals can be sued for medical malpractice under a couple legal theories.
First, hospitals are responsible for making sure there are enough nurses and nurse practitioners to properly care for patients. So if a patient develops bedsores due to hospital understaffing, the hospital could be sued for its own negligence. On the other hand, hospitals are also responsible for the care their employees provide. Known as vicarious liability, this means hospitals can be sued when physicians or nurses neglect or fail to treat a patient long enough that the patient develops bedsores.
If you think you may have a medical malpractice claim, for bedsores or otherwise, you may want to discuss your case with an experienced medical malpractice attorney near you.