Patient Falls During Transfer, Suffers Fracture, Dies After Surgery; Facility Settles

A 92-year-old female patient was admitted to an assisted living facility on or about June 28, 2011. At all times relevant, the patient was a high fall risk, about which the assisted living staff were aware. The patient had chronic instability and a history of multiple falls at the assisted living facility. As such, the patient was totally dependent on assistance from the assisted living staff for transfers.

On June 7, 2014, the assisted living facility failed to provide the patient with the transfer assistance she required, and she was permitted by the assisted living staff to fall during a transfer. The patient was transported to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with a right comminuted supracondylar distal femur fracture. Although the patient was not a good surgical candidate, because the fracture was highly unstable, she required immediate surgery in the form of an open reduction and internal fixation.

The patient did not wake up following surgery but remained nonverbal and obtunded. As a result, on June 11, 2014, the patient was placed on comfort care. She died on June 16, 2014.

The family contacted us to pursue claims against the assisted living facility for failing to provide proper transfer support and care to prevent her from falling and suffering injuries, leading to her death. We were able to obtain a settlement award for the patient’s family.