Nursing Home Patient Falls Unsupervised, Suffers Fractures, Nursing Home Settles

An 83-year-old female was admitted to a nursing home on June 14, 2011. At all times relevant, the nursing home knew the patient was a high fall risk. Unfortunately, the nursing home failed to provide the patient with the safety measures they knew she needed, including without limitation vigilant supervision and bed and chair fall alarms.

On June 14, 2011, within an hour of admission to the nursing home, the patient was left unattended and unsupervised in her room. The patient needed to void, called for the nursing home staff to assist her, and waited for staff to arrive. The nursing home staff did not arrive to assist the patient, so she rose to use the bathroom on her own. The nursing home staff did not otherwise attempt to respond or intervene to prevent the fall before it occurred.

After the fall, the nursing home staff picked the patient off the floor and carried her to her bed. Throughout the night following the fall, the patient repeatedly complained of pain and was administered pain medications. The nursing home did not obtain an x-ray of the patient’s leg until the following day.

X-rays revealed the patient sustained a right displaced femoral neck fracture and impacted fractures of the right superior and inferior public rami as a result of the fall. The patient was transferred to the hospital, where the fractures were confirmed and the patient received right hip surgery. During that surgery, which was made necessary by the fall, the patient sustained an iatrogenic fracture along the posterior cortex of the femoral head, which was treated with cerclage cable. Eventually, the patient was returned to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with bilateral complex anterior sacral fractures at the S1 joint and free fluid within the pelvis.

As a result of the fall and fall-related injuries, the patient became less mobile, suffered from numerous urinary tract infections, became more dependent with activities of daily living, and required physical therapy and narcotic pain medications, including morphine, Fentanyl, and Oxycontin. The patient required ongoing nursing home care.

The family contacted us to pursue claims against the nursing home for failing to provide proper fall prevention. We were able to obtain a generous award for the patient through settlement, which is confidential at the nursing home’s request.