Injury From Falls and Immobility
We go to hospitals to heal, not to get hurt. But serious injuries from falls and immobility in hospitals are all too common. Between 700,000 and 1 million people fall in hospitals each year, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Since many hospital patients are already physically vulnerable because of illness or are impaired by medication, these falls can have tragic consequences and result in thousands of injuries and deaths annually. But many hospital falls – about 1/3 of them according to one study – are preventable. When a patient falls because a hospital and its staff failed to take reasonable steps to prevent falls or failed to fix unsafe conditions, the experienced Washington DC injury from falls and immobility lawyers at The Rich Firm, PC aggressively pursue compensation on their behalf.
Why Do Hospital Falls Happen?
A study by the National Institutes of Health looked at the reasons hospital falls happen and what patients were doing at the time of their falls. According to the NIH study, the most common reasons for hospital falls are:
- Lost balance
- Slipped or tripped
- Dizziness or fainted
- Muscle weakness
- Hip, leg, or knee gave out
- Used bad support
- Asleep or sedated
These conditions can make even the most basic daily activities potentially dangerous. NIH found that the most common activities that resulted in patient falls were:
- Getting out of bed
- Sitting down or standing up
- Using bedside commode
- Using toilet
- Dressing or undressing
- Standing or sitting
- Reaching for object
- Sleeping or repositioning in bed
- Getting into bed
- Using bathtub
The injuries patients suffer from hospital falls can include fractures, subdural hematomas, and excessive bleeding among others, and can even result in death, especially for seniors.
How Hospital Negligence Can Lead to Falls and Serious Injuries
As noted, however, many hospital falls are preventable, and hospitals know what they need to do to prevent them. But knowing what needs to be done to prevent falls and doing what needs to be done to prevent falls are two different things. Hospitals can breach their duty of care to keep patients safe from falls in any number of ways including:
- Failing to familiarize the patient with their environment
- Failing to keep a call light and the patient’s personal possessions within close reach
- Failing to have sturdy handrails in bathrooms, inpatient rooms, and hallways
- Failing to keep hospital bed brakes locked
- Failing to keep wheelchair wheel locks in “locked” position when stationary
- Failing to provide night lights or supplemental lighting
- Failing to keep floor surfaces clean and dry or failing to clean up spills quickly
- Failing to keep patient areas uncluttered
The Rich Firm, PC – Washington DC Hospital Falls and Injuries Attorneys
When a hospital’s actions or failures to act cause falls that result in injury or death, the Washington DC personal injury attorneys at The Rich Firm, PC can help. Our lawyers, a number of whom are also licensed physicians, are committed to the well-being of our clients and fight tirelessly to get them compensation and hold negligent parties responsible.
If you have been injured or lost a loved one as a result of a hospital fall, please give us a call at 888-RICH-LAW (742-4529) to set up your free consultation or contact us online. We look forward to assisting you.