Bedsores are serious medical conditions that can lead to a variety of complications. In some cases, these complications can lead to permanent disability and death. When a pressure ulcer develops to a stage 3 sore, it can seriously compromise the health of the patient. Knowing the signs, symptoms, and treatment of these afflictions can help prevent the progression to stage 4 and the complications that may arise.
Generally, a stage 3 bedsore is one that has progressed from stage 1 and stage 2 without effective medical intervention. These are deep sores that may appear crater-like on the victim’s skin. Due to their intensive nature, they often involve an accompanying infection and present serious health concerns to the patient.
Symptoms of Stage 3 Bedsores
Stage 2 bedsores appear as intact blisters or small open sores. By the time these ulcers reach stage 3, they are readily identifiable for their large appearance and the presence of dead skin. Because of the necrosis (cell death) that is beginning, a bedsore may appear blackish or yellow. In some cases, the surrounding skin of a bed sore may appear rotten. Often, the skin sustains damage beyond repair. In a stage 3 ulcer, the subcutaneous layer of the skin is affected, so the fatty tissues of the patient’s skin are visible to the eye. While these sores look awful and may seem terribly painful for the patient, the nerve endings typically sustain severe damage. As a result, the patient may not experience any pain.
Treatment for Stage 3 Bedsores
Unfortunately, once bedsores progress to this stage, the risk of life-threatening complications is high. Patients are at risk for conditions like cellulitis, necrotizing fasciitis, myonecrosis, and more. The common threads linking these conditions are (1) risk of rapid cell and tissue death, and (2) possible spread of infection to the bloodstream and lymph nodes, leading to multisystem organ failure. Any of these complications can lead to the death of the patient.
By the time that a bedsore reaches stage 3, caregivers and medical professionals must intervene quickly to address the problem. Doctors often perform a procedure called debridement, which removes the dead layers of skin so new growth can take its place. In addition, they may prescribe antibiotics, bedsore dressing, and other forms of intervention to speed up the healing process. Exposure to pure oxygen – hyperbaric therapy – may be helpful. Any caretaker or loved one who notices signs of a stage 3 bedsore on the patient should take the following actions immediately:
- Remove the pressure from the sore. Replace bedding and use supports such as pillows to keep the condition from getting worse. Minimize any friction by using soft bedding and turning the patient frequently.
- Keep the affected area clean and dry. Moisture can breed infection and encourage the growth of bacteria. The best way to accomplish this is by frequently changing bedding and wound dressings.
- Never touch the affected area. The patient’s open sore is an invitation for the introduction of bacteria. Attempting to touch it could only make the problem worse.
- Leave treatment to a medical professional. At this stage, multi-faceted medical treatment delivered by a professional is essential. A licensed medical provider can perform treatments like debridement, wound care, and administering medications that facilitate recovery.
Unfortunately, stage 3 pressure ulcers may never fully heal. Once they reach this stage, the best course of action is immediate medical intervention. Treatment focuses on controlling symptoms and healing the wound as much as possible. Without appropriate treatment, stage 3 ulcers may progress to the most serious stage, stage 4 bedsores, which may prove life-threatening. In the event you or a loved one developed stage 3 bedsores because of negligent care, speak with a nursing home abuse lawyer in West Virginia. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.