Hospital or nursing facility falls are almost always medical malpractice

As a former hospital administrator, I’m well familiar with a class of occurrences that healthcare accrediting agencies, such as The Joint Commission, referred to as “sentinel events.” Just because there also sometimes called “never events” doesn’t mean that they still don’t happen.

Accrediting agencies and hospital leaders are interested in sentinel events so they can be reported and studied to determine how policies, procedures, and training to be implemented to prevent them from injuring other patients.

One type of never event that we are seeing on an increase in the new clients calling Painter Law Firm is patient falls.

Unfortunately, despite the increased awareness that fall prevention has received at hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and rehabilitation abilities, they continue to happen. The standard of care requires nursing staff to conduct a head-to-toe assessment of each patient on admission and to evaluate and document the patient’s fall risk.

Any patient who is identified as having an increased fall risk must have an individualized fall prevention plan that’s documented in the medical record. These will often include elements such as a sign on the patient’s door and/or foot of the bed, a fall risk bracelet, use of fall prevention mats, and orders for assistance from a nurse or other caregiver to get out of bed.

Any time a hospitalized patient falls in a hospital or facility, it’s a sentinel event that requires investigation. When a patient is severely injured in a fall, it’s possible to pursue a medical malpractice claim.

One of our clients found himself in this situation. After going to an emergency room in The Woodlands with back pain, this elderly patient with memory issues wasn’t properly assessed for fall risk. In the process being treated, he fell and sustained a head injury and broke his hip.

What started as a hospital visit to reduce back pain left him being admitted for hip surgery with weeks of inpatient rehabilitation and, now, permanent impairments.

If you’ve been seriously injured because of a fall at a Texas hospital, nursing home, or rehab facility, then contact a top-rated experienced Houston, Texas medical malpractice lawyer for a free evaluation of your potential case.

Robert Painter
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Robert Painter

Robert Painter is an award-winning medical malpractice attorney at Painter Law Firm Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Houston, Texas. He is a former hospital administrator who represents patients and family members in medical negligence and wrongful death lawsuits all over Texas. Contact him for a free consultation and strategy session by calling 281-580-8800 or emailing him right now.