Nursing Home Patient Dropped From Bed, Suffers Bilateral Leg Fractures; Arbitration Awarded To Plaintiff

A 36-year-old female patient was admitted to a nursing home on July 8, 2011.  At all times relevant, the patient had severe multiple sclerosis, was unable to move her legs, and was dependent on the assistance of the nursing home for all of her activities of daily living, including mobility.  

On September 28, 2013 at approximately 1:55 a.m., a CNA was making the patient’s bed with the patient in the bed.  The bed was at staff transfer level (i.e., high), and both side rails were down.  The CNA pulled up on the air mattress, causing the patient to fall out of the bed and land on the floor on her knees.  The nursing home staff picked the patient up off of the floor and transferred her back to bed, despite her complaints of “aching knees.”  The patient later complained of increasing pain to her left leg, and both legs appeared very swollen.  

The nursing home staff waited for almost 24 hours after the fall before obtaining mobile x-rays of the patient’s legs.  The x-rays revealed an impacted metaphyseal fracture of the distal left femur and left proximal fibular fracture.  The patient was transferred to the hospital, where additional x-rays confirmed an impacted, oblique, comminuted fracture of the left femur.  Because the patient was non-ambulatory at baseline, her left leg was placed in a knee immobilizer and she was returned to the nursing home, where PT was consulted to increase range of motion to her left leg and decrease her complaints of pain.

The patient continued to complain of pain in both legs, for which she required Morphine, Percocet, and Dilaudid.  On February 18, 2014, in response to the patient’s persistent complaints of severe pain in her right knee, mobile x-rays were done that revealed an ongoing angulated fracture of the right proximal tibia and fibula.  

On February 28, 2014, the patient was transported to the orthopedist, where she was given a brace for her right knee.  On May 27, 2014, the patient returned to the orthopedist, who documented that “both knees [were] still sore” and “persistently painful.”

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