It never ceases to amaze me when family members are told that there husband, wife, mother, father, etc. have a little “pressure sore” on their backsides or legs/feet and that it is being taken care of with a little cream and a bandage. The description given to the family makes it sound like their loved one is suffering from a mosquito bite! To the contrary, these skin wounds are serious medical problems.

Decubitus Ulcers, Pressure Sores, Bed Sores…whatever you want to call them…are bad, real bad! They are painful, often become infected, and can sometimes lead to death.

Not only are these sores painful…they are embarrassing to the resident. Certain microorganisms are known to produce offensive, odors (e.g., the ripe, fruity, somewhat foul smell of Pseudomonas). An individual with a highly exudating and/or odorous pressure sore may be emotionally or psychologically embarrassed or even devastated by the odor emanating from the wound and use drastic measures to eliminate the odor. Individuals with these sores often make attempts to mask the odor with room deodorizer or cologne and express feeling dirty. Some individuals isolate themselves. In addition, the need for frequent dressing changes, for bulky dressings, or for a vacuum-assisted device to handle the exudate can significantly impact self-image and lifestyle and decrease mobility.

My Take: Most pressure sores and decubitus ulcers can be avoided with regular and consistent repositioning of the resident. These changes in position, along with appropriate nutrition and hydration, will go a long way toward preventing this demeaning, and often life-threatening, condition. Demand that you loved one receive the care they are paying for and to which they are entitled.

Dan Frith
Dan Frith

Dan Frith has over 25 years of experience representing individuals and families in cases of medical malpractice throughout Virginia. He has been named "Best Medical Malpractice Attorney" by Roanoker Magazine and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. To speak with Dan, contact him by email at