Pressure Ulcers are a “Never Event” Under Medicare

When it comes to healthcare standards, there are certain types of injuries or complications that should never happen. Called “never events,” these include leaving surgical objects inside patients and patients contracting infections from inadequate sterilization. One injury that Medicare deems to be a never event in nursing homes, hospitals, or home health scenarios is a pressure ulcer – also commonly known as bedsores. Medicare can deny payment for pressure ulcer treatment in many situations.

Never events are entirely preventable, and the effects can be devastating for patients. If you or a loved one suffered a pressure ulcer, the nursing home or hospital might be liable for the costs of treatment, pain and suffering, and more.

Pressure Ulcer Overview

About 2.5 million patients suffer with pressure ulcers in the United States. Pressure ulcers can form when someone is bound to a bed or wheelchair and is not moved or adjusted regularly enough. These sores can be stage one, two, three, or four, and stage three and four pressure ulcers fall into the never event category. These later stages of bedsores can be challenging to treat, and they can even be life-threatening. They are also the fourth most common preventable medical error nationwide. While it might not be possible to prevent all types of pressure ulcers from forming, stage three and four ulcers are considered to be entirely preventable.

A bedsore can develop quickly, though these can be successfully treated if addressed quickly. If a bedsore is not properly treated, it can progress rapidly, and many complications can occur, including:

We have had pressure ulcer cases involving Kansas nursing homes that have led to amputations and two deaths in 2017 and 2019. Families felt guilt and fault when they first came to us, but we proved the harm was clearly due to negligence and inadequate staffing. We help the family cope with the loss of a loved one while fighting for reparations.

Nursing home staff should always take steps to prevent pressure ulcers in residents who cannot move around on their own enough. They should also regularly check for forming pressure ulcers to make sure that patients receive timely treatment to prevent the unnecessary escalation of the condition.

Losses from Never Events

When a never event occurs in a nursing home, Medicare can deny payment, and financial losses can result. Residents can incur bills for the treatment of injuries and complications, and they can experience unnecessary pain and suffering, as well. This is certainly the case with stage three or four pressure ulcers, which are incredibly painful.

When nursing homes fail to meet the necessary standard of care, such as by allowing a bedsore to worsen without proper treatment, the care facility should be held accountable for all of the losses of the injured patient.

Consult with a Salina Personal Injury Lawyer about a Possible Case

The Salina personal injury attorneys at Neustrom & Associates represent nursing home residents and patients who suffered unnecessary injuries due to negligence. If you or a loved one experienced a pressure ulcer or another never event, please do not hesitate to contact us online or call 785-825-1505 to discuss your legal rights and options.