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Pennsylvania Hospital Negligence Lawyer
Hospitals recognize that many patients, including elderly ones, are at an increased of suffering a fall while hospitalized. This risk occurs for many reasons. The patient may be weak, unstable from the illness or condition that required them to be in the hospital. The patient may have orthopedic or neurologic conditions that make them unsteady on their feet. The various monitor and IV fluid and medication lines may represent a falling hazard. Recognizing this risk, hospitals have established policies that are designed to evaluate and identify those patients at risk of suffering a fall. And, for those patients who have been identified as being an increased fall risk, hospitals have created policies that put in measures to minimize or eliminate this risk. One recognized method of preventing falls is the use of bed alarms. Bed alarms work in that they notify nursing personnel that a patient is attempting to get on a bed and allow hospital personnel to get to a patient before a fall occurs.
Our client was a sweet, elderly lady from Beaver County. She was a widower and former school teacher who lived near her two adult children. She was a patient in a local hospital where she was undergoing some tests. When she was admitted, she was evaluated and determined to be a fall risk, someone who should not get out of her hospital bed by herself. Pursuant to hospital policies, a bed alarm was placed on my client's bed. And, it worked. Because our client was older, in a new environment and tended to be forgetful, she tried getting out of her hospital bed on her own. Fortunately, the bed alarm sounded, a nurse responded and was able to get our client back into bed before any harm occurred.
Unfortunately, two days later, a nurse turned off the bed alarm and never reset it. Later that day, our client exited her bed on her own. She fell, striking her head. Because the bed alarm had been negligently disabled, our client lay on her hospital room floor, undiscovered, for an extended period. She suffered a brain hematoma, meaning she was bleeding in her brain. An expected short hospital stay turned into a three month ordeal in the intensive care unit that culminated in our client's wrongful death.
Representing her two children, we uncovered evidence establishing that her bed alarm had not been turned back on. Filing a lawsuit on the behalf, the case settled just before the trial was to begin. The settlement gave our clients the satisfaction of knowing that justice was obtained in their mother's name.