University of Southern California Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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Tom got a spinal cord injury in 1991 when he was shot by a gang member. He had tried to move away from being involved in gangs. He was making a new life for himself and his family. Tom was in the hospital for three months after being shot. He still had a bullet near his spine, so he couldn't be moved. Because he couldn't be moved, Tom got three pressure ulcers (which is what a doctor or nurse calls pressure sores or bedsores) while he was in the hospital. Tom left the hospital not knowing how to prevent pressure ulcers. Soon he had two more. He spent time at a number of hospitals before he could get the care he needed.

Read more about Tom in these articles...

Three people who helped with this project - Alley, Robert and Tom - all moved to a bigger city so they could go to a really good hospital for people with spinal cord injuries (SCI).

→ read more in Getting Health Care

Tom was having problems with his skin. He lived in a small town. The doctors in the small town didn't know a lot about pressure ulcers. Tom moved to a big city to find doctors to help with pressure ulcers. Tom changed the where in his life. It helped him handle problems with his health.

→ read more in Life Events

Tom lived with his uncle.

→ read more in When You Don't Like in a Home

Tom was going to go back to the rehab hospital for help. He thought it would be okay to stop doing pressure reliefs for a few weeks because he was going to the hospital. When he got to the hospital, he had a pressure ulcer because he stopped doing pressure reliefs. His choice to stop doing pressure reliefs did not turn out right.

→ read more in Making Choices

Old injuries or surgeries can leave a scar. Scars are not healthy skin. A new pressure ulcer can start on an old scar. Helen, Ken and Tom all got new pressure ulcers on old scars.

→ read more in Skin Getting Older