It is not uncommon for a patient in a hospital or in a nursing home to suffer one or more falls, resulting in serious injuries or even death.
Not all falls are the result of medical malpractice (by definition in Maryland, medical malpractice occurs when the care given by the health care provider is not in accordance with the standards of practice among members of the same health care profession with similar training and experience situated in the same or similar communities at the time of the alleged act giving rise to the cause of action). However, some falls may have been avoided had the proper care been provided.
Under most circumstances, hospitals and nursing homes are required to perform a fall risk assessment on the patient to determine if the patient is at risk for falls. If the hospital or the nursing home fails to conduct the fall risk assessment in a timely fashion, or performs the assessment negligently, then the facility may be responsible if the patient falls as a result. If the fall risk assessment is done properly and timely but it is implemented improperly (for example, if the assessment requires that the staff assist the patient to use the bathroom when the patient uses the call bell to request assistance but the call bell is not in reach of the patient, the call bell is not working, or the staff fails to timely respond to the call bell and provide the necessary assistance), then the facility risks liability for the patient’s fall and the resulting injuries.
Sometimes a patient in a hospital or a nursing home becomes a fall risk due to medical treatment received, such as when medications that are given to the patient are known to cause confusion, weakness, or dizziness in some patients. Patients undergoing surgery often become fall risks for a period of time immediately after the surgery, such as patients who have hip replacement surgery.
Other times patients become fall risks due to the natural progression of the patient’s disease or condition (such as elderly dementia patients in nursing homes).
Some falls occur during transfers (while the patient is being transferred from bed to a chair, for example) or when a patient is left unattended during diagnostic procedures, such as being left alone in a x-ray room.
If one or more falls in a hospital or nursing home has left you or a family member with injuries or led to death, one of our medical malpractice lawyers may be able to help you obtain compensation for your losses. Click here to obtain a medical malpractice lawyer in your area to seek justice for your claim or call toll free 800-295-3959.