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Bed sores can cause osteomyelitis

On Behalf of | May 22, 2023 | Elder Abuse |

Osteomyelitis is a rare bone condition caused by bone infection. This serious condition requires immediate treatment to prevent the infection from spreading. 

Osteomyelitis cases often stem from bacterial infections after severe injury or deep cuts. However, most cases of this condition are caused by bed sores. 

How bed sores cause osteomyelitis

While most patients recover from bed sores, they can become fatal when left untreated. Unfortunately, sometimes bed sores can remain undiagnosed until it’s too late and develop into pressure ulcers

Bed sores can also get infected if the patient’s skin is moist. For example, if an elderly individual has incontinence. Some of the warning signs of infected bed sores include:

  • Swelling
  • Bone pain
  • Abnormal changes in the skin color or texture
  • Pus drainage from the affected area
  • Fever

Sometimes, bone infections may not have any signs distinguishable from other conditions. In addition, diagnosing the condition to prevent it from worsening may be difficult when treating older adults or individuals with compromised immune systems. 

Is there treatment for osteomyelitis?

Although osteomyelitis was once considered an incurable disease, modern intravenous antibiotics and surgical procedures can help treat this disease effectively. Some effective treatments that stop the disease from spreading include:

  • Surgery to remove the dead bone tissue
  • Antibiotics to use through different treatment phases
  • Amputation if a limb is severely infected

The infected bone tissue can take months to heal, especially if the infection is serious. However, without treatment, osteomyelitis may cause bone death or systemic sepsis. The body’s infection-fighting chemicals released into the bloodstream may trigger a bodily response that might damage organs. This may lead to septic shock or even death. 

Fortunately, osteomyelitis is preventable. However, lack of training, understaffing or overworked nurses in nursing homes can increase the risk of residents contracting the disease. Seek legal assistance if a loved one suffers from osteomyelitis because of nursing home negligence. 

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