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Stage 3 Bedsores

Stage 3 bedsores are severe wounds that cause damage to the deeper layers of the skin. Many people with bedsores have more than one. These open wounds put people in nursing homes at a higher risk for infection and sepsis, both of which can be fatal.

Bedsores are preventable and can be easily treated in the first stages. Allowing bedsores to reach stage 3 can indicate abuse or neglect in a long-term care home.

Nursing home abuse and neglect is illegal, and it is also unconscionable. Many families rely on nursing homes to care for their frail and vulnerable loved ones.
If your family member has suffered from nursing home abuse or neglect, he or she may be entitled to compensation. The Levin & Perconti legal team of nursing home neglect attorneys can help. Call us today for a free consultation about your case.

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What are stage 3 bedsores?

Bedsores are also known as pressure ulcers or pressure sores. There are four stages of bedsores, which are classified based on severity. Stage 3 refers to the second-most serious stage. These occur when a stage 2 bedsore penetrates beyond the top dermal layers but hasn’t reached muscle or bone.

Although stage 3 bedsores may be life-threatening, they are treatable. With proper care, caregivers can prevent them from reaching stage 4. However, since bedsores often indicate neglect in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, patients may not get the attention and treatment necessary to heal stage 3 bedsores.

What are the causes of stage 3 bedsores?

Bedsores develop when people remain too long in one position. Pressure and interrupted blood flow lead to skin irritation and damage. When bedsores are not treated, the skin breaks, forming open wounds. 

Stage 1 bedsores have not yet broken the skin; subsequent stages are measured by how deep the wound penetrates into the skin and muscle tissue.

Nursing home neglect is one of the main causes of stage 3 bedsores. Bedsores happen when a person is left in one position for too long, causing unrelieved pressure on one area. Many nursing home residents are largely immobile or bedridden and therefore need assistance with repositioning to reduce the risk of bedsores.

Part of a resident’s daily care should include a skin check along with early identification and treatment of existing stage 1 bedsores. If a pressure ulcer breaks skin, it’s a clear sign of neglect.

Symptoms of Stage 3 Bedsores

Stage 3 bedsores appear as deep, crater-like wounds in the skin. Dry scabs, fat tissue and curled wound edges are often visible. Infection is common with stage 3 bedsores, with symptoms such as:

  • Greenish pus or fluid coming from the wound
  • Black and dying skin (necrosis) around the edges of the wound
  • Redness in the affected area
  • Fever

If they are not treated, stage 3 bedsores can advance to stage 4, where bone, nerves tendons, or muscle is visible. These patients require immediate medical attention. 

Bedsores pose a significant health risk. Nursing home workers who fail to diagnose and treat bedsores or who fail to prevent them in the first place may be liable for the patient’s injuries. The nursing home itself may also be responsible for allowing abusive or negligent conditions.

Treating Stage 3 Bedsores

The treatment for stage 3 bedsores begins with physically repositioning the individual to alleviate the pressure from the affected areas. This ensures that the sores don’t worsen, and it improves blood flow to the tissue, allowing it to heal.

Doctors then remove the dead tissue from the wound in a debridement procedure. Once the bedsore is free from dead tissue or scabs, a medical provider cleanses it with saline. 

Providers then bandage bedsores with clean, sterile gauze and change the dressings regularly. Even with treatment, stage 3 bedsores can take weeks or even months to fully heal.

Without proper attention and infection prevention, however, complications can occur. Bacterial infections are common with poorly treated bedsores, and the infection can reach the bone, causing a condition known as osteomyelitis. Sepsis is also a serious risk. 

Many people in nursing homes have underlying health conditions or compromised immune systems, which leaves them unable to fight off infections. In severe cases, this can become fatal.

Preventing Stage 3 Bedsores

Stage 3 bedsores are preventable with early detection and prompt treatment of stage 1 or 2 pressure ulcers. Nursing home caregivers, family members and even the patients themselves can all take steps to identify and reduce the risk of advanced-stage pressure sores.

Caregivers should frequently move people who are mostly bed bound or who use a wheelchair. This ensures consistent blood flow and reduces pressure on areas where the bones are close to the skin. 

Caregivers should perform regular skin checks for bedsores and address stage 1 ulcers immediately, before the skin breaks. If you visit your loved one regularly in a nursing home, you can perform a skin check yourself to ensure they are receiving the care and mobility assistance required.

Bedsores are more prevalent in places where there is less muscle and fat tissue, such as the hips, shoulder blades, back of the head, knees and elbows.

A healthy diet is also essential in preventing bedsores. Diets high in protein and supplemented with zinc, iron and vitamins A and C can naturally boost the patient’s health and increase resistance to bedsores.

What to Do if You Suspect Nursing Home Neglect

A stage 3 bedsore indicates a significant abandonment of the duty of care that nursing home staff must provide. You may be able to document your loved one’s injuries by taking photos and making notes about any treatment or worsening symptoms.

Report the nursing home or care facility to the office of the long-term care ombudsman. This agency protects the interests of residents in long-term care facilities. It investigates complaints filed by residents or families on behalf of their loved ones. You can also file a complaint through your state’s public health department.

How can a nursing home lawyer help me?

If you or a loved one have suffered because of nursing home neglect, a personal injury law firm that has achieved record-setting results for victims of nursing home abuse can help.

Staff members may be guilty of neglect or abuse if a patient develops stage 3 bedsores, and they should be held accountable. Furthermore, the nursing home itself may share responsibility for resident neglect due to short-staffing issues or negligence and lack of oversight.

A nursing home lawyer can build a case against those responsible for the injury to your loved one. These lawsuits seek compensation for damages, such as medical treatment and any pain and suffering from the bedsores.

The experienced trial attorneys Levin & Perconti can help. We will work with you to get justice for your loved one and hold negligent nursing homes accountable so that others do not have to suffer. Contact us today for a free consultation about your case.

$1.4 million


against a facility located in the northern suburbs for a former nursing home resident who sustained injuries as a result of a pressure sore.

$2.8 million


record nursing home pressure sore settlement against a suburban Hillside nursing home and physician for a 59-year-old resident who developed multiple painful and infected bedsores which took four years to heal

$2.3 million


for the family of an 88-year-old assisted living facility resident who developed severe and infected bed sores which ultimately brought about her death. Her doctor was criminally indicted for his conduct and charged with involuntary homicide