A Canadian man is telling the story of a short-term hospital stay that turned into a year-long nightmare after he developed a pressure ulcer, also known as a decubitus ulcer or bedsore. The senior citizen, Vinal Michaud, was admitted to the hospital for kidney stones – a fairly routine medical procedure. After spending ten days at the hospital in June 2007, Michaud was released back to his home. It was only when he returned home that he discovered the pressure ulcer.
Michaud, who is a paraplegic and does not feel sensation below his waist, only discovered bedsore when his at-home nurse saw the wound and alerted him. According to Michaud, the nurse told him “We’re going to have to look at that right away.” A doctor visit diagnosed the pressure ulcer as a Stage IV bedsore – the most serious categorization. Michaud, who said he could not feel the pressure ulcer developing because he has been unable to walk since his spinal cord was crushed in a tractor accident when he was ten-years-old, began medication and ointments immediately.
Unfortunately, his pressure ulcer was so severe that it took an entire year for him to heal. “I spent over a year that I couldn’t get out of this house and to go get in my chair and go somewhere because I had a pressure sore,” he told CBC.ca. The worst part, according to Michaud, was that the pressure ulcer was entirely preventable. Currently, he uses a metal triangle, or “monkey bar,” which hangs over his bed. “I can grab a hold of that and lift myself up around the bed and take some pressure off my rear end or whatever.” Shifting pressure and moving around can prevent bedsores from developing. Michaud notes that he received a bath daily from the nursing staff and says, “I can’t understand why” the medical staff did not notice the bedsore or provide any preventative help in relieving the pressure.
After filing a lawsuit against the hospital and settling out-of-court, Michaud advocates for better awareness of pressure ulcers – and the minimal amount of preventative measures required to prevent them. “That’s the thing,” he said. “They should have done it in the first place.”