What is a Sacral Decubitus Ulcer?

A sacrum, or the sacral part of the body, is where the lower spine meets the upper buttocks. A decubitus ulcer is an open pressure sore that develops because a patient is not cared for properly by staff. So what is a sacral decubitus ulcer? It is a pressure ulcer that forms on the upper buttocks due to patient neglect.

Sacral Decubitus Ulcers: Location

sacral ulcer

Decubitus Ulcer on the Sacrum. Sacral Decubitus Ulcer Photo.

A decubitus ulcer on the sacrum, or a sacral decubitus ulcer, is an open pressure ulcer on the top of the patient’s butt crack. Sacral decubitus ulcers can also form on the left and right upper butt cheek/lower back. A decubitus ulcer that forms below the sacrum, on the lower part of the butt cheeks, is referred to as an ischial decubitus ulcer.

Preventing Sacral Decubitus Ulcers

Sacral decubitus ulcers are preventable through good care. Patients in hospitals and nursing home residents are at an elevated risk of developing sacral decubitus ulcers. Specifically, elderly patients who cannot move on their own, suffer from dementia, diabetes, paraplegia or incontinence, and those who cannot perform activities of daily living are at a high risk of sacral decubitus ulcer development. The good news is that sacral decubitus ulcers are easily preventable. Nursing home or hospital staff must be diligent in turning and repositioning the patient, providing a specialized low-pressure mattress, applying special decubitus ulcer creams and offloading pressure to the sacrum area. For an in-depth discussion on preventing sacral decubitus ulcers, click here.

Treating Decubitus Ulcers on the Sacrum

Sacral decubitus ulcers can be treated and resolve if caught early enough. Sacral decubitus ulcers are graded in terms of severity; a Stage 1 Sacral Decubitus Ulcer is basically a small red spot on the skin. A Stage 1 sacral decubitus wound can likely be treated and healed. A stage 4 sacral decubitus ulcer is the most severe sacrum ulcer possible. A Stage 4 sacral decubitus wound is a visible hole in the skin down to the patient’s bone. This kind of sacral ulcer develops over long periods of neglect. For more information on the different stages of sacral decubitus ulcers, click here. 

Treatment options for sacrum decubitus ulcers depend on the severity of the ulcer. Stage 1 and 2 sacral ulcers can usually be healed through proper pressure offloading and prescription skin moisturizing creams. A more severe sacral decubitus ulcer, like a Stage 3 or 4, will likely require painful debridements and possibly surgery. For a thorough explanation of treatment options for sacral decubitus ulcers, click here.

What to do if Your Loved One Suffers from a Sacral Decubitus Ulcer

decubitus ulcer on the sacrum, cause of death

Death Certificate listing cause of death as Sacral Decubitus Ulcers

Decubitus ulcers on the sacrum are a serious health risk, especially in already compromised patients. The sacral decubitus ulcer acts as a gateway for disease and infection due to its proximity to the patient’s urine and feces. It is crucial to keep the sacral ulcer clean from infection.

If the patient is in a nursing home or hospital setting and develops a sacral decubitus ulcer, the first thing you should do is report the sacrum wound to everyone associated with the patients care. Tell the aides, tell the director of nursing, tell a doctor; tell everyone. A sacral decubitus ulcer is a ticking time bomb for the patient’s health. Often times, sacrum ulcers get infected and cause the patient’s death.

After you have reported the sacral decubitus ulcer to the treating nurses and doctors, make sure to report the patient neglect. Sacral decubitus ulcers are NOT an acceptable side effect of a hospitalization or nursing home residency. In fact, the US government has classified sacral decubitus ulcers as a “never” event, meaning sacral decubitus ulcers should never happen. Additionally, it is against the law for a hospital, nursing home or ALF to allow a preventable sacral decubitus ulcer to occur. Contact the Department of Health and report the patient abuse.

Sacral Decubitus Ulcer Lawsuit: The Sacral Decubitus Ulcer Case

After you have reported the neglect to the proper governmental agencies, hold the neglecters accountable. Contact our qualified sacral decubitus ulcer lawyer at (561) 316-7207 and inquire about your options in filing a sacral decubitus ulcer lawsuit.

The time to file a sacral decubitus ulcer lawsuit is limited so make sure you speak with a medical malpractice attorney so you understand your rights and time restraints. The only way to ensure that patient abuse and neglect stops in our healthcare system is to do something about the injustice. Unfortunately, it is usually those who cannot speak for themselves that suffer with sacral decubitus ulcers. This is why it is so important to shed light on the neglect. For more information on the sacral decubitus ulcer lawsuit process and potential outcomes, click here. 


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