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Pressure Sores: A Gruesome Side Effect of Spinal Cord Injuries and Immobility

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It’s been three weeks since your accident and you haven’t been able to move off your hospital bed since the ambulance dropped you at W.O. Moss. Your doctor informed you that your spine was damaged in the accident and you may be permanently paralyzed from the waist down. So here you sit—waiting to get discharged—unable to move for what seems like forever, when you notice a small reddish mark creeping up around your heel. Unable to examine it yourself, you push the nurse’s call button and wait.

When you’re bedridden, unable to move for long periods of time, or are otherwise paralyzed, your legs, arms, buttocks, and back are susceptible to pressure sores. Keeping an eye on any and all sores can help prevent stage 1 sores from developing into life threatening stage 4 wounds.

Pressure Sore Stages and Prevention

Pressure or bed sores can become extremely painful and infected overtime. They develop when certain parts of the body (generally around bony areas) are placed under a consistent weight for long periods of time. Depending on how long the sores go untreated, they can be classified within one of four stages.

Stage 1

Stage one is considered minor. The skin is not broken, but is red and remains red for more than 30 minutes after the pressure is removed from the area. Keep pressure off of the area while keeping the sore clean and dry. Make sure to drink plenty of water and monitor it for any signs that it may be worsening.

Stage 2

Stage two is quite worrisome. The skin is broken and pus or fluid may be visibly leaking. Get the pressure off of the area and keep it clean and dry. Contact your physician as soon as possible.

Stage 3

Stage three is considered a major worry. The wound extends to the fatty tissue and may show signs of infection. A few examples are fever, pungent odor, or a greenish discharge. Stage three sores often need special wound care, so it is important to get the pressure off of the area and contact your physician immediately.

Stage 4

Stage four pressure sores can be life threatening. The wound extends into the muscle and as far down as the bone, showing signs of dead tissue and drainage. Stage four sores can be life threatening as an infection can directly enter your bones, blood, and muscle tissue. It is important to seek medical attention immediately. Surgery and amputation are likely outcomes that can result from stage four sores.

A lot of people mistakenly think that the worst part of a spinal cord injury would be not being able to walk. Although the paralysis itself can be physically and psychologically devastating, the side effects of immobility can be even worse.

This is why it is crucial for you to have proper treatment and medical supervision after a spinal cord injury—no matter what the cost.

Worried that you won’t be able to afford proper treatment or home care? Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your case and whether or not you’re eligible to file an injury claim for medical compensation. Call today—we’re here to help!

Category: Brain & Spinal Injury


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