Deep tissue injuries (DTI), a term coined by the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP), are a type of pressure ulcer that’s apt to deteriorate and is characterized by bruises on bony prominences. The NPUAP explains that deep tissue injuries are “A pressure-related injury to subcutaneous tissues under intact skin. Initially, these lesions have the appearance of a deep bruise. These lesions may herald the subsequent development of a Stage III-IV pressure ulcer even with optimal treatment.” To determine options for compensation, contact a Toronto deep tissue injury lawyer.
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Characteristics of Deep Tissue Injuries
Deep tissue injuries first may appear to be a common bruise or as a pressure sore that develops after a slip and fall accident. They also may form when a patient has spent a length of time on bed rest or in one particular physical position.DTIs were, at one time, referred to in the medical community as malignant lesions, due to the fact that they are progressive and potentially fatal.
Some of the key characteristics of DTIs include:
- A maroon or purple discoloration of the skin or a blood blister
- The affected skin may feel different from the surrounding skin, i.e., firmer, painful, or warmer or cooler
- The wound progresses and a thin blister forms over it
- Wound may evolve further and become covered by thin eschar (a dry, dark scab or sloughing off of dead skin)
- Additional layers of tissue may become exposed rapidly – despite optimal treatment
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Causes of DTIs
An article in Wound Care Canada by certified wound specialist Cynthia A. Fleck, MBA, BSN, RN explains that there are four understood causes of DTIs:
- Direct pressure to the skin with resulting ischemia;
- A muscle injury that causes loss of nutrients to the muscles;
- Damage to fascia, the membrane that covers organs, bones, muscles, blood vessels and nerves; and
- Injury to perforated vessels.
Diagnosis is quite complicated with DTIs. The Wound Care Canada article describes three ways currently available that may assist in diagnosing DTI:
- Laser doppler blood flow studies
- Ultrasound (which shows damaged tissues beneath the skin’s surface)
- Biopsy (although this form of diagnosis has a low risk-to-benefit ratio)
Misdiagnosis is not uncommon because DTIs may be mistaken for other conditions like bruising, calciphylaxis, hematoma, gangrene and abscesses. Physicians should check patients thoroughly and keep a close eye on any developing large bruises or blisters. Daily skin assessments are recommended.
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Condition Caused by Negligence
If your condition was caused by negligence, you might be able to receive compensation for your damages. For instance, if you suffered an injury as a result of a slip and fall on another party’s premises, your damages might be compensable. If your home care attendants, physicians or hospital staff failed to provide you with an appropriate level of care or if you were misdiagnosed, your resulting injuries can be included on a negligence claim. To determine whether or not you are eligible to pursue compensation for your DTI and how to go about filing a claim, contact a deep tissue injury lawyer in Toronto.