Nursing Home Bedsores Causing Osteomyelitis

Osteomylitis in bone in foot

Osteomyelitis Symptoms, Diagnosing and Treatment

Osteomylitis in bone in foot
Osteomylitis in bones of the foot. By James Heilman, MD (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Osteomyelitis is a bone infection that is commonly associated with bedsores.

It may seem as if bones are pretty inaccessible to foreign objects like bacteria; however, infections can enter the body through pressure sores where they reach the bone by traveling through a person’s bloodstream or by spreading to the bone from nearby infected tissue.

Osteomyelitis is a serious condition that can cause severe complications for patients battling the infection, especially if it is not diagnosed and treated promptly and properly.

Bedsores that Lead to Osteomyelitis

Osteomyelitis is much more common in individuals that have open wounds like bedsores. These bedsore wounds attract infections and render patients more susceptible osteomyelitis.

Pressure sores give the infection an opportunity to enter the body. Osteomyelitis affects two out of every 10,000 people.

People suffering from the following conditions are more likely to develop the bone infection osteomyelitis:

  • Diabetes;
  • Sickle cell disease;
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis;
  • Hemodialysis;
  • Long-term steroid use;
  • Use of intravenous lines and/or catheters; and
  • Recent injury.

As you can see, many of these conditions apply to elderly individuals, especially those residing in nursing homes. Many nursing home residents are on long-term medications that can weaken their immune system over time which makes them more susceptible to infections.

Nursing home residents that develop Stage 3 or Stage 4 pressure sores have a 33% chance of contracting osteomyelitis.

Lower extremity decubitus ulcers can result in bone infections that are so aggressive that the only way to prevent the infection from spreading throughout the body is to amputate. This can result in foot amputations, ankle amputations and below knee amputations.

Symptoms of Osteomyelitis

The Mayo Clinic lists the following common symptoms for osteomyelitis:

  • Fever or chills;
  • Irritability or lethargy;
  • Pain surrounding the area of infection; and
  • Swelling, warmth, and redness over the area of infection.

Diagnosing and Treating Osteomyelitis

Generally, the condition is diagnosed using a variety of tests including blood tests, imaging tests, and bone biopsies. Once thought to be an incurable condition, osteomyelitis can now be treated. Most of the time, this involves hospitalization followed by surgical procedures to remove affected portions of bone. If a loved one residing in a nursing home has suffered bedsores and was subsequently diagnosed with osteomyelitis, the nursing home might be liable.

South Shore Massachusetts Nursing Home Bedsores and Osteomyelitis Elder Abuse and Nursing Home Neglect Injury Attorneys

If you believe your loved one suffered osteomyelitis or another serious condition due to bed sores or nursing home neglect you may be entitled to seek compensation for your loved one.  To find out, contact our experienced nursing home neglect lawyers today for a free consultation.

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