Nursing Home Patient Falls, Sustains Injuries, Develops Pressure Ulcers; Nursing Home Settles

A 73-year-old male nursing home patient had a high fall risk and the danger of sustaining injury during sliding board transfers, of which the nursing home was aware. On November 7, 2012, the patient fell at the nursing home facility when a single CNA was transferring him using a sliding board. After the November 7, 2012 fall, the nursing home was to ensure that the patient would be assisted during all sliding board transfers by two members of the nursing home’s staff and that a gait belt would be used during the transfer to support and protect the patient from future falls.

On June 22, 2013, the patient was being transferred by a single member of the nursing home’s staff from his bed to his wheelchair using a sliding board. The patient was permitted to fall “forward . . . into side rail hitting his lip and landing face down on the floor with right arm in front of him and left leg bent behind him.”

Following the June 22, 2013 fall, the patient was sent to the hospital for evaluation. At the hospital, the patient was diagnosed with a right humeral fracture and fractures of the left tibia and fibula. The patient remained at the hospital until June 27, 2013, when he was transferred back to the nursing home.

The patient was returned to the hospital on July 2, 2013, after which he was cleared for surgical repair of his right humeral fracture. The patient received an open reduction and internal fixation of right humeral fracture on July 11, 2013. His post-op course was complicated by hypovolemic shock and respiratory failure which required a BiPAP. He was returned to the nursing home on July 14, 2013.

Following surgery, the patient’s left leg was immobilized. As a result of pressure from the immobilizer, the patient developed pressure ulcers to his left leg. The pressure ulcers to his left leg became unstageable.  The patient died on August 27, 2013.

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