Patient Falls, Placed Back In Bed With Femur Fracture, Nursing Home Settles

On January 31, 2007, a 95-year-old female was admitted to a nursing home. The nursing home knew the patient was a high fall risk based on a medical history that included a history of falls, dementia, the use of assistive devices, osteoarthritis, hypertension, dizziness, problems with balance, and confusion, among other conditions and limitations.

On February 6, 2012, the nursing home permitted the patient to fall when a CNA was putting her to bed. After the fall, the nursing home’s staff picked the patient up off of the floor and put her back into the bed. The patient’s right leg swelled through the night. The following day, the patient continued to complain of right thigh pain, and her leg continued to swell.

The patient was transferred to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with a spiral periprosthetic fracture to her right femur. The patient required right hip surgery on February 9, 2012 in the form of open reduction internal fixation with cable plates, a femoral strut, and bone grafting. She was subsequently returned to the nursing home.

On April 17, 2012, the patient complained of pain to her right leg and was noted to have swelling around her right knee. Two days later, the patient was sent to a hospital, where she was diagnosed with a new comminuted supracondylar fracture of the right femur with multiple butterfly fragments. The patient was not a surgical candidate, and she was provided with a knee immobilizer.

As a result of her fall-related injuries, the patient became less mobile and more dependent with activities of daily living. The patient also required a Hoyer lift for transfers, occupational therapy, and narcotic pain medications. She also sustained frequent urinary tract infections and pressure ulcers caused by the falls.

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