Real Stories from People Who've Been Affected By Pressure Ulcers

Below are just a few of the stories we have already received from people affected by case studies.
If you have a story you would like to share with us please email


When Donna Berryman’s 77 years old grandmother suffered a stroke, she was rushed to hospital for treatment.But little did Donna and her family realise that an infection contracted while she was in hospital would prove far more dangerous to her health than the stroke itself.

Donna, 33, a mother of two from Redbourn in Hertfordshire says: “A couple of weeks into my Nan’s stay at hospital we realised something wasn’t quite right. My Nan wasn’t her usual self and although we knew she was still recovering from the stroke, we sensed there was more to it.”

It was at this point that staff at the hospital told Donna that her grandmother had developed a pressure sore on her lower back and buttocks.  Donna says: “I didn’t really know what a pressure sore was or how serious they could be and so although I was concerned for Nan, at this stage I wasn’t unduly worried.”

After six weeks stay in hospital and still suffering from a pressure sore, Donna’s grandmother was discharged and admitted to a private nursing home.

“We specifically found a home that claimed to have experience and knowledge in treating pressure sores,” says Donna. “Nan’s sore was a Grade 3 by this stage (Grade 1 being the least serious and Grade 4 potentially lethal) and so we were really adamant about her being looked after by a nursing home that was up to speed in pressure sores management and would give her the best possible care.”

And so it came as a tremendous shock to Donna when just six weeks after her grandmother’s admittance to the nursing home, she received a call from the police to say that her grandmother had been rushed to Luton and Dunstable Hospital and was part of an ongoing investigation into the standard of care at the nursing home.
One resident had died as a result of complications from a pressure sore and several others had extremely severe pressure sores.

Donna says: “We were absolutely devastated. We had trusted the nursing home to give Nan the very best possible care. They told us they were very experienced in pressure sore care and management and we had no reason to disbelieve them.”

Upon admittance to hospital for the second time, Donna’s grandmother’s sore had deteriorated and was now the worst it could be – a life threatening Grade 4.

Donna explains; “Up until this point I had never actually seen Nan’s sore. When I did, I was completely devastated. I had never seen anything like it in my life before. It was just like a huge weeping and infected crater in her lower back and buttocks. I was horrified and just couldn’t understand how it could have got to this state.”
She adds: “Nan was fighting for her life with something that was totally avoidable. She was vulnerable and needed care and yet she ended up in a truly awful state.”

Although Donna’s grandmother is now well on the road to recovery, Donna still feels extremely angry and resentful at the trauma she, her family and her grandmother were subjected to.

She says: “I had no idea that pressure sores could kill. If I’d had the slightest notion of just how serious they can be, I would have been demanding that my Nan was moved regularly and would have been checking her vulnerable areas.”

“Having said that, surely we should all expect that our families receive the basic requirements of care? Surely it is not asking too much that patients who are unable to move themselves are turned regularly?”

Now Donna is so determined that other at risk patients should not suffer as her grandmother did, that she is backing a new campaign called ‘Your Turn’ aimed at raising awareness amongst the general public about the dangers of pressure sores and how to avoid them.

She says: “Although my Nan is now in a wonderful nursing home and her wound has nearly recovered, she has lived with the pain, discomfort and distress of a pressure sore for more than a year. It was entirely avoidable and something that no one should have to put up with. I want to do everything within my power to ensure that what happened to my Nan doesn’t happen to anyone else.”


Liz Watts, aged fifty at the time of the operation, from Redditch developed a pressure sore after a major operation to remove her ovaries. She had an epidural for pain relief and as a result lost sensation from the knees down.
Consequently she rubbed the top layer of skin off the heels of her feet without even realising it.

She says: “Once I got the feeling back in my legs a day or two after my surgery when the epidural was removed, I realised my heels were sore. It was almost like when you wear ill fitting shoes and they rub the skin off your toes, but this was my heels.”

Liz alerted the nursing staff who treated it with cream.  She says: “No-one actually told me what the problem was and it never occurred to me that it was a pressure sore as I always thought they were some sort of awful ulcer type damage to the skin. My heels were sore for months after the operation and I had to continue to rub moisturiser into them myself to reduce the discomfort and pain.”

Although having the utmost admiration and respect for the nursing staff who cared for her, Liz feels there just aren’t enough of them to care adequately for patients who have undergone major surgery, she says: “I actually felt sorry for the poor nursing staff on night duty trying to cope with all the patients - there were just two of them looking after two wards, plus outer wards.  They were very good to me and I don’t feel they were neglectful, I just think they were understaffed and so didn’t have the time to spot the telltale signs of a pressure sore developing.”


Anne James, aged 33 from Stockport in Cheshire developed a pressure sore during childbirth.
During the latter two hours of her labour, Anne was placed in stirrups and encouraged to lean forward and back to aid delivery of her daughter.

She says: “After finally giving birth to my beautiful baby girl, I spent five days in hospital recuperating and getting used to being a first time mum. When I returned home I noticed that the base of my back and the very top of my bottom was completely numb.

“I mentioned this to my husband who checked the skin and said it looked white compared to the skin around it. I made sure that I massaged this area of my back with some mild moisturising cream for the next three weeks. Gradually I began to regain the sensation in my back – looking back I realise now that what I suffered was a pressure sore due to the stress on my back during childbirth.”

Although Anne acknowledges that a more active participation in birth is now encouraged and so it is less likely that other expectant mothers will have to endure her experience, she is concerned that stirrups are still used and patients are left in them for periods of time that can cause considerable damage to the skin.

She says: “At a time when all in the garden should be rosy, it’s awful to think that women have to suffer the additional pain and anguish caused by pressure sores, that in the majority of case are entirely preventable.”