Hospital negligence occurs when reasonable care is not taken to prevent a hospital patient from suffering injury. This includes when the patient is being transported. Injuries can be very serious and sometimes even fatal. There are protocols in place at hospitals when it comes to the safe transport of patients. Failure on the part of the staff to follow protocols and result in patients suffering falls that lead to serious and potentially life-threatening injuries.
Slip and fall accidents in hospitals are one of the most common causes of injury to patients. Falls in hospitals can result in hip fractures, subdural hematomas, skull fractures, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and other serious and debilitating injuries. The causes of hospital falls include:
- Allowing at-risk patients to walk without supervision
- Balance disorders
- Failure to monitor patients
- Failure to use patient protective devices
- Hallway clutter
- Improper use of restraints
- Inadequate lighting
- Malfunctioning bed rails
- Medication errors (that lead to patients who are dizzy or disoriented)
- Muscle weakness
- Slip-and-fall accidents resulting from slippery floors and hazards
- Visual impairment
Older patients are especially susceptible to falls as they are already unsteady on their feet and it is very easy for them to fall. Additionally, due to their often weak and frail bones, falls can result in serious consequences. Sometimes the injuries that elderly people suffer may lead to an untimely death.
Negligence of hospital staff has been directly related to many falls in hospitals. If there are patients who are at a high risk of falling, staff need to develop and implement plans to minimize the risk. Examples of such plans include:
- Using waterproof footgear to decrease slip and fall hazards
- Using no-skid waxes on the floors and surfaces, coated with grit creating non-slip surfaces in slippery areas
- Countertops and nursing states and medication carts should not have any sharp, square corners.
- To prevent tripping, replace or stretch carpets that bulge or are bunched
- Adequate lighting is necessary, especially at night.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a fall resulting from hospital negligence, contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible, as you may be entitled to compensation.
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