How difficult is it to establish medical negligence when you want to claim compensation for a hospital patient with bed sores due to inadequate nursing care?

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

Establishing medical negligence in order to claim compensation for a hospital patient with bed sores is not particularly difficult, as the bed sores are unlikely to have developed if adequate nursing care had been provided.

In most care scenarios, on seeing the red skin patches which are usually an indicator that pressure sores are about to develop, a member of the nursing staff would –

  • ensure that a suitable air mattress was provided for the patient,
  • move the patient onto different parts of his or her body to prevent the deterioration or ulceration of the sores and
  • apply medication and dress the wounds to help them heal

If these actions have not been taken, either due to a lack of nursing care or inadequate levels of nursing staff available to provide care for the patient, then it should be possible to make a claim for bed sores in a hospital.

However, any claim for bed sores in a hospital could be contested by the hospital authorities if you (or the patient on whose behalf you are asking the question) contributed to the development of the bed sores by failing to communicate that you were experiencing painful blisters, or exacerbated the level of injury due to a lack of cooperation with nursing staff.

It could be the case that you were sedated and unable to feel the pain from the bed sores as they developed, or the nature of your original ‘hospitalising’ injuries made it difficult for you to manoeuvre in order for nursing staff to apply medication to the bed sores once they were identified; but it would be in your best interests to speak directly which a solicitor to discuss how your bedsores developed, how badly you suffered from them and if you could possibly be perceived as contributing to either the cause of your injury or the level of injury you suffered.

Once a solicitor is aware of all the facts – and whether your injury has affected your quality of life since your discharge from hospital – he or she will be able to determine whether you have a claim for bed sores in a hospital which is worth your while to pursue and how much compensation for a hospital patient with bed sores you may be eligible to receive.