Patient Falls, Suffers Hip Fracture; Facility Settles

A 52-year-old female patient was admitted into a nursing home after an aneurysm. She was at high risk for falls due to the aneurysm, which left her physically and cognitively incapacitated. The nursing home knew the patient was at high risk for falling and that she required the highest level of protection from falls.

The patient’s family continuously expressed their concern about fall safety. They requested chair safety alarms and a safety belt for her wheelchair. The nursing home’s administrator and others advised the family that it was against the law to provide those safety devices and instead offered only a fall mat, lower bed, and tilted recliner.

The nursing home had prior knowledge about a long history of fall-related regulatory violations at its facility and sister facilities within the nursing home chain. By not providing safety alarms and belts for the patient, the nursing home ensured the patient would sustain injuries from falls.

 The day after being admitted, the patient was permitted to fall from her bed. The family was notified an aide would remain with the patient at all times for fall protection. On Several days later, the patient was permitted to fall yet again, this time from the wheelchair in the patient’s room. The patient had been left unsupervised.

The patient was transported to a hospital, where she was diagnosed with a hip fracture. She was later transported to another hospital for hip surgery following placement of a lumbar drain to remove accumulated fluid. After the surgery and blood transfusions, the patient was transferred to a rehab facility for therapy.

Due to the hip fracture, the patient suffered significant pain and her period of therapy was prolonged. She continues to suffer from functional loss from the hip fracture.

The patient’s family contacted us to pursue claims against the nursing home and its owners and operators. We were able to obtain a generous settlement award for the patient.

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