Q: Should I take a picture of a bedsore?
A: In a word: “YES!”
As a New Jersey Nursing Home Lawyer, I have seen my fair share of bedsores (a/k/a “pressure Injuries”). And I will never get used to the images. The truth is, most people find the image of a bedsore on a person’s back, buttocks, heels or other body part unforgettable. They invoke a powerful, visceral reaction for just about everyone. And, as a result, pictures of these wounds can provide some of the most valuable evidence in proving the severity of the injury. “Documentation” of the wounds in the patients’ medical records, or a verbal description, pales in comparison.
Everyone with a loved one in a nursing home should keep a close eye out for pressure injuries. And, if they develop, pictures should be taken. This should be done from a variety of angles. Some should show the wounds close up, but be sure others are taken which show the wounds from farther back such that a greater portion of the affected person can be seen. This provides important context for evaluating the close-ups. Proof of this kind simply cannot be replicated, and virtually guarantees that anyone later sitting in a position to judge the negligent nursing home will appreciate the gravity of the harm caused.
Q: Can the Nursing Home Refuse to Allow me to Take Pictures?
A: The nursing home cannot prohibit you from photographing the wound if your loved one wants the pictures taken. While you may not be able to control exactly when the pictures can be taken, and while the facility can prevent you from having staff members in the photographs, the nursing home’s staff does not have a legal right to deny a patient’s request to be photographed. Simply stated, you don’t have to take “no” for an answer. And if the staff members interfere, call the New Jersey Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers at Davis & Brusca. We can help.
Q: How Frequently Should I photograph the bed sore?
A: Bed sores can erupt and progress rapidly. Documenting the progression of the wound over a series of days may be the only way to accurately capture the wound and demonstrate clearly what the injured person has gone through. Documentation in the nursing home’s records may be poor, incomplete or inaccurate. As such, daily photographs can be an invaluable tool in the effort to prove what actually happened. And why. Remember, proving when the injury happened and how it looked at particular points in time can also be critical evidence. One way to provide this additional data, is to use a digital camera which dates the pictures.
Q: What Should I Include in the Pictures of the Bedsore?
A: You are looking to get a fair and accurate depiction of the wound, in a way which is not overly gory or otherwise prejudicial. You should be certain medical staff members and others who may not consent to being photographed are out of frame, or otherwise unidentifiable. For instance, having someone’s hands in frame is a far different matter than having their face. Also take care to be as discreet as possible. It may not be possible to keep all of your loved one’s “private” areas out of frame, but try as much as possible to preserve their dignity while documenting the wound accurately and completely.