Female Patient Falls Unattended, Suffers Multiple Fractures, Nursing Home Settles

A 91-year-old patient was admitted to a nursing home on November 21, 2011.  At all times relevant, the nursing home knew the patient was a high fall risk based on a medical history that included Alzheimer’s dementia, confusion, poor safety awareness, the use of assistive devices, dizziness, and deficits in strength and balance, among other conditions and limitations.  Unfortunately, the nursing home failed to provide the patient with the safety measures it knew she needed, including without limitation vigilant supervision and bed and chair fall alarms.   

On November 24, 2011, an aide assisted the patient from the dining room to her room, where the patient was left unattended and unsupervised.  The aide placed the patient’s walker within reach but failed to lock it.  The nursing home permitted the patient to rise, stand, and attempt to walk using the unlocked walker.  The walker collapsed and the patient fell to the floor.  The patient rose, stood, and fell without any supervision, assistance, or even a glimmer of recognition from the nursing home’s staff.  The nursing home did not attempt to respond or intervene to prevent the fall.

The patient was transferred to the hospital, where x-rays revealed she sustained a left femoral neck fracture and a left shoulder fracture as a result of the fall.  The patient required left hip surgery on November 25, 2011.  Following the surgery, the patient was diagnosed with aspiration pneumonia.  

As a result of the fall and fall-related injuries, the patient became less mobile and more dependent with activities of daily living, required occupational and physical therapy, and required narcotic pain medications, including hydrocodone.

The family contacted us to pursue claims against the nursing home for failing to provide proper fall prevention and for injuries suffered from the fall. We were able to obtain a settlement award for the patient’s family.