Hospitals are supposed to be a place of recovery and healing. People seek the advice of well-educated and trained medical experts to help diagnosis and treat complex injuries, but what happens when the experience in a hospital is unsafe and leads to an injury rather than being a restorative stay. One of the most common injuries sustained while in the hospital is a fall.
How Common are Falls in Hospitals?
On average a United States hospital rates between 3 to 5 falls per 1000 bed-days which accounts for approximately a million in patient falls each year.1 According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, between 30 and 50 percent of these annual falls will result in injury. The consequences of these injuries often include distress and delayed rehabilitation periods since up to three percent of the falls result in a new fracture.2
What Causes Hospital Falls?
There are patient and environmental factors that contribute to the number of falls that occur in hospitals each year. Patient factors that often lead to a fall include weakened muscles, reliance on canes or walkers, not notifying nurses when there is a need for assistance, use of high-risk medications that increase dizziness, confusion, or impaired mobility.3 However, the more dangerous risk factors include environmental or patient care concerns such as not setting bed-exit alarms, not using scheduled toileting routines, non-adjustable hospital beds, delayed responses to the nurse call bell, inadequate patient assessment, or not providing non-slip footwear.4
When is a Hospital Liable for an Injury?
In order to prove that a hospital or health care facility is responsible for a patient’s injury, it must be proven that the hospital was both responsible for the injured party’s safety and that the dangerous situation was caused by negligence. It is important to consider the physical décor of the hospital to make sure flooring is even and cleaned, but not left slippery without proper notice or posted warning signs. Personal are often responsible for patient care such as transferring patients in-between hospital beds and wheelchairs, if an employee does not follow protocol and a fall occurs then the hospital may be liable. A hospital can also be negligent if there is a pre-mature discharge that results in a fall or other related injury, because they have not had adequate time to regain strength and clarity. Due to the vast number of contributing factors behind hospital injuries, seeking legal advice can help victims towards recovery and fair compensation.
Contact an Experienced St. Louis Personal Injury Lawyer for a Free Consultation
If you have been injured while in a hospital it is important to discuss the circumstances of your accident with a personal injury attorney who can help to determine what claims should be filed and protect your legal rights and interests. To contact a personal injury attorney for a free consultation please feel free to call the The Bruning Law Firm trial attorneys at 314-735-8100.