A STOURBRIDGE law firm investigating a case involving a 90-year-old woman left with a grade 4 pressure sore after a stay in hospital has called for lessons to be learned.

The call coincides with the national #STOPthePressure day which aims to raise awareness of pressure ulcers, also known as bedsores, and the devastation that can occur if skin viability is not maintained in bedbound people.

Talbots Law has been instructed to pursue a claim for medical negligence against the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust after an elderly patient who was admitted for treatment for a broken leg has been left with a pressure ulcer of the utmost severity.

Pressure sores are staged from 1 to 4 with grade 4 being the most serious – with the potential to result in sepsis and death.

Rajni Kandola, senior associate solicitor in the medical negligence team at Talbots Law, claims her client - who was largely independent and enjoyed socialising with family and friends prior to her hospital admission in July 2022 – has been left needing round the clock care as a result of the sore on her coccyx, which developed while she was an inpatient at Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley.

It is claimed that she did receive adequate care to prevent skin breakdown during her four-week admission and that hospital staff failed to properly communicate the severity of the woman’s pressure sore injury to her family when she was discharged home with a package of care in August 2022.

The sore, the solicitor said, was identified by visiting district nurses – much to the family’s shock – and in September concerns were raised that she may have developed sepsis due to the wound causing an infection in her bone.

The woman was rushed to hospital and given antibiotics and a vacuum pack fitted to the injury to aid healing.

She was eventually discharged in early December 2022 to a care home in Stourbridge and since January has been having to privately fund her stay at the home.

Her solicitor Rajni said: “It now appears likely that as a result she will unfortunately be spending the rest of her life in the care home given her extensive care needs, for which she has to foot the bill.”

Rajni Kandola said she has been instructed to pursue a claim against the hospital trust and to work with them to reach a settlement to fund the ongoing care needs the woman now has.

She said: “This case highlights the importance of understanding the signs and devastating consequences of pressure sore injuries and the correct treatment of them.”

Today, we join my client and her family in supporting #STOPthePressure day and we call upon the hospital to ensure lessons are learnt from this case and to improve working practices going forward.”

The Dudley group NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Russells Hall Hospital, has not commented on the case but trust chief executive Diane Wake said: “Pressure sores are extremely distressing for our patients.

"As a result, it is essential for us to ensure that all staff have the correct training and support to be able to identify, prevent and treat patients who may be susceptible.

“At Dudley we follow the ‘react to red’ principles for our training which covers the assessment, treatment, prevention and communication of care for pressure ulcers, with the goal of early detection.

“Alongside this, our staff ensure the correct equipment is utilised in patient treatment to prevent pressure sores.

“In Dudley we listen to patient feedback so that patients and their families can be better informed on both the prevention and treatment of pressure sores or ulcers when they leave a healthcare setting.”

She added: “Stop The Pressure Day’ is a fantastic day to further educate our healthcare staff, as well as patients and the public on pressure ulcer care."