Bed sores are skin wounds, also called pressure ulcers, that develop when an immobile person is left in one position for too long. The pressure placed on the skin can cause a skin wound to develop. If the pressure isn’t relieved and the patient not properly cared for, gaping skin wounds that go down to the bone could become infected with bacteria.
Unfortunately, one of the bacteria that a patient with bedsores can become infected with is E. coli. E. coli stands for, Escherichia coli, and several strains of this bacteria, including E. coli O157:H7, can result in major health issues such as severe abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea and vomiting.
E. Coli and Bed Sore Patients
E. coli infections normally develop due to exposure to contaminated water or contaminated food. However, patients who have large open skin wounds as a result of bed sores can be exposed to E. coli through those sores. This is especially true if a patient’s bed sores are not treated. If the bedclothes are not kept clean, if proper hygiene practices are not followed for the patient, or if the bandages on the bed sores are not regularly changed.
While healthy people can fight off the complications of E. coli in most cases, seniors who are sick and who have compromised immune systems cannot generally get the bacteria under control in their bodies. When a patient cannot fight off the E. Coli bacteria, a life-threatening type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome can develop.
E. Coli and Nursing Home Neglect
Patients in nursing homes who are under the care of nursing home staff should never develop these types of problems if they are properly cared for. Bed sores can be prevented by simply providing basic care to the patient. A bedridden or wheelchair bound patient should have his positioned changed approximately once every two hours or so. Special mattresses can be used to prevent bed sores and other steps can be taken to help ensure that patients don’t develop these pressure ulcers in the first place.
If a patient does develop pressure sores, preventing infection requires providing proper care and the patient deserves to get this care from nursing home staff.
When a nursing home falls short in its obligation to its patients, a legal claim can be made for nursing home abuse and neglect. Nursing homes can be liable for injuries and damage that are caused by the negligence of their staff, and for those that are caused by the nursing home’s own failure such as under staffing or not having policies in place to protect the health and safety of residents. A nursing home abuse and neglect attorney can help those who have developed E. coli in a nursing home setting to recover compensation for their losses.
About the Author
Attorney Steven Peck has been practicing law since 1981. A former successful business owner, Mr. Peck initially focused his legal career on business law. Within the first three years, after some colleagues and friend’s parents endured nursing home neglect and elder abuse, he continued his education to begin practicing elder law and nursing home abuse law.