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Pressure Ulcer Led to the Death of Christopher Reeves

It was a pressure ulcer that led to the death of Christopher Reeves after fighting so hard to rehabilitate. If you are caring for a person who is immobilized or spends a lot of time in the bed or a chair, pressure ulcers can be your worst nightmare. It's hard to believe it but pressure sores are a serious hazard of hospitalization and a huge drain on the healthcare system.

Consider this: the costs of treating a pressure ulcer are estimated to range from $4,000 to $40,000 for newly developed ulcers.

Pressure ulcers form where bone causes the greatest force on the skin and tissue and squeezes them against an outside surface. This may be where bony parts of the body press against other body parts, a mattress, or a chair. In persons who must stay in bed, most pressure ulcers form on the lower back below the waist, the hip bone, and on the heels. In people in chairs or wheelchairs, the exact spot where pressure ulcers form depends on the sitting position. However, pressure sores can develop on virtually any part of the body where exposed to unremitting pressure.

Pressure ulcers can develop in as little as 1-2 hours, and persons who sit in chairs and cannot move can get these ulcers in even less time because the force on the skin is greater.

Information provided by National Library of Medicine (NLM).

Alternating pressure mattress / low air loss mattress for prevention / treatment of pressure sores.

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