Falls in Hospitals, Rehabilitation Facilities, or Elder Care Homes
When someone is in a hospital, rehabilitation facility, or elder care home, we expect the attending medical staff to competently care for both their medical, and daily needs. These facilities have a duty to care for admitted patients, and part of fulfilling that duty is taking the necessary steps to ensure a safe environment for patient care and wellness. When this duty is breached, patient injury can result. Falls are a common patient injury, and while some are unavoidable, others are due to the staff’s negligence. When a hospital, rehabilitation facility, or elder care homes’ negligence results in a patient’s fall, leading to injury, the negligent facility may be liable for damages. Additionally, a physician who makes a negligent decision about a patient’s course of treatment, leading to a dangerous fall, may be guilty of medical malpractice.
Common Negligence Leading to Fall
- Slippery Floors – Healthcare facilities must maintain clean and sterile environments for patient, staff, and visitor safety. This means frequently cleaning all surfaces, including floors. Freshly cleaned floors may be wet and slippery, and it is a facility’s duty to adequately warn people about this danger. If a patient falls and is injured because of a hazard a facility created and didn’t warn anyone about, the injured party may be able to collect damages.
- Premature Discharge – There are countless medical conditions and medications that can lead to dizziness and loss of balance. If a doctor prematurely discharges a patient who is still at risk for a fall and doesn’t take proper precautions to avoid one, they may be liable for damages.
- Other Failures to warn – Many admitted patients are administered a number of powerful medications. A lot of them have side effects like dizziness and loss of balance. If a patient is given a medication in a hospital and is not properly warned not to try and walk or stand, a fall may result. If a doctor negligently fails to recognize when a patient cannot walk unassisted without posing a danger to themselves or others, or negligently advises them otherwise, and a fall results, he or she may be guilty of medical malpractice.
- Dropped by Staff – Many patients must be manually transferred by facility staff. Medical care providers should be experts at transferring patients safely and effectively, minimizing pain and the risk of injury. However, if done negligently, transferring can lead to a fall resulting in injury.
For many, a fall is no big deal, but for the ill, injured, or elderly, a fall can have serious consequences. Common injuries include sprains, bruises, and broken bones. Some falls can even end in permanent brain damage depending on how a person lands and whether or not their head struck any hard surfaces.
If you or your loved one has been injured in a fall at a healthcare facility due to the facility or a doctor’s negligence, a medical malpractice lawyer may be able to help you get the compensation you deserve.