The family of a 90-year-old woman who had fallen from her hospital bed while an inpatient in a California hospital in 2012 and suffered a fractured skull, bleeding in her brain, and a mid-shaft displaced and comminuted fracture of her femur as a result, filed a California medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit against the hospital.
The elderly woman died eight days after the fall as a result of her brain injury. The California medical malpractice jury found the defendant hospital to be liable for the woman’s death and awarded $270,350, on June 19, 2015.
The medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit alleged that the elderly woman, who was on coumadin, oxycodone, and ambien at the time she attempted to get out of her hospital bed at 4 a.m., needed assistance that the hospital negligently failed to provide, which allegation was denied by the defendant hospital.
The woman had been admitted to the defendant hospital to monitor her atrial fibrillation (AFib). The family’s medical malpractice lawsuit alleged that the day prior to the woman’s fall, the nurse assigned to care for the woman determined that she needed one-on-one assistance when getting out of bed due to her medicated condition. However, on the day of the fall, the nurse assigned to her care at that time did not provide assistance to the woman when she needed to get out of bed, alleging that the woman was independent and did not require assistance.
The defendant hospital argued that putting up the bed rails on the woman’s hospital bed during the night was not necessary and was a form of restraint. The family’s experts testified during trial that sometimes placing bed rails in the upright position is necessary to protect certain patients from falling, such as heavily medicated elderly patients during nightime, and such patients must be instructed to not attempt to get out of bed on their own and to use the call button to request assistance.
The family’s medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit was also critical of the defendant hospital’s medical staff’s actions immediately following the woman’s fall. According to their lawsuit, the staff placed the woman back in her bed without implementing full C-spine precautions and without considering the obvious serious fracture of her femur, and the staff failed to transport the woman to the emergency department for evaluation.
The family also complained that the defendant hospital failed to answer their questions regarding how the woman sustained her serious injuries, alleging that its investigation was confidential. The coroner had determined that the woman died as a result of blunt force trauma from the fall.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries (or worse) as a result of medical negligence in California or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a California medical malpractice attorney (or a medical malpractice attorney in your state) who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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