The elderly, persons sick, the frail, and those handicapped all have a higher potential or propensity for falling and becoming injured. While sometimes the fall cannot be prevented or avoided, other times a patient who should have been attended to falls and gets hurt.
Experienced medical malpractice attorneys in the Hudson Valley regions of New York know that medical professionals and other staff at hospitals, treatment facilities, nursing homes, clinics, etc. have a responsibility to care for their patients. This includes seeing that persons at risk to fall are provided the assistance needed to move about the facility safely.
The stereotype is that the elderly are only at risk for falling. Nothing could be further from the truth and medical facility operators should know better. If a person is a patient at a medical facility, it is fair to suggest that the patient is not functioning normally, and muscles or joints can be weakened. It is also fair to suggest that the patient will be medicated.
Patients at risk for falling can become severely injured when involved in a fall accident. At the very least, the patient will suffer bruising and soreness after the event. Even these relatively minor injuries can reduce the victim’s mobility. But of course injuries can be more severe.
A fall can lead to bone fracture. Fingers, hands, and arms can easily break when the fall victim tries to brace oneself from the impact with the ground. Elbows and shoulders can easily fracture. The same is true for hips. Ribs are known to fracture when the elderly fall as well. These types of injuries will take a long time to heal, and they can cause the victim to suffer a setback in recovering from their other medical problems. At the most extreme level, the victim will never be able to fully recover.
Additionally, fall victims can end up with concussions, skull fractures, brain bleeding and traumatic brain injuries. These injuries can cause temporary loss of motor and cognitive functioning, and they could even be permanent and un-repairable.
What causes a vulnerable patient to fall? Often times it is the medical facility staff. Staff has a responsibility to care for patients and do all that can and should be done to prevent such falls. The specific causes can be any number of things. For example, inattention to the patient; negligent monitoring of the patient’s movement around the facility can be the source of the accident. Failing to properly communicate to each other about the patient’s condition can as well. Also, the patient may have not been properly diagnosed or given the wrong amount or type of medication.
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