As medical malpractice attorneys, we frequently get calls about cases involving someone who has fallen out of bed in the hospital. What many people may not know is that falls from hospital beds are a leading cause of patient injuries. It is the standard of care for a hospital to use bedrails when the patient is at risk of falling out of bed. The failure of the nurse to use the bedrails for those patients may be the basis of a medical malpractice claim.
Head Injuries Are Common From Falls From A Hospital Bed
At every hospital, there is an algorithm for assessing whether a patient is a fall risk. Many of the people who fall out of bed at hospitals are elderly or are not fully aware of their surroundings due to medication. These patients cannot take care of themselves and should be identified as a fall risk in their medical records to alert the attending nurse to use the bedrails. When an elderly or disoriented patient does fall out of bed at a hospital, one of the more common injuries is a head injury. It is not uncommon for a patient who has fallen and hit their head to have suffered a traumatic brain injury with permanent damage or death. If a patient has fallen out of bed at a hospital, the appropriate course of action is to take the patient to the emergency department for x-rays and possibly a CT scan of the head to look for bleeding on the brain.
What Can Hospitals Do To Prevent Injuries From Falling Out Of Beds
A number of hospitals have chosen to require standard procedures to prevent injuries from a patient falling out of the bed. Some hospitals place a large yellow star outside the room of every patient who is rated a fall risk by the algorithm. Other hospitals may use yellow colored blankets or yellow colored socks to identify a patient who is considered a fall risk. The color yellow is the universal color for caution. Hospitals can also limit the use of certain medications around bedtime so that a patient is less likely to need to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. Preventing the need to get up in the first place goes a long way toward not falling in the first place. Nurses should also visit the room of a fall risk patient every 30 minutes instead of every 60 minutes to make sure that nothing has happened and that the patients have everything that they need.
Hospital Room Technology Provides For Patient Safety
Hospital can also use technology to reduce the number of falldown injuries that occur with patients. Today, there are automatic bed alarms that sound off when a patient has attempted to get out of bed without the help of a nurse. Other safety measures include purchasing hospital beds that can be lowered closer to the floor making it easier for a patient to get in and out as well as soft floors to make an injury from a fall less likely than on a hard floor.
Call A Lakeland Medical Malpractice Attorney To Discuss Your Case
If you have questions about whether the hospital is responsible for an injury from falling out of bed, you should contact a Lakeland medical malpractice attorney to discuss your case for free.