The Wexner Medical School at the Ohio State University is trying to address a tragically under-recognized health issue. Despite the number of serious falls at hospitals and other medical facilities increasing at an incredible rate (150 percent increase in the last few years), few facilities are doing anything to address this major problem.
The press release detailing the new study shares some terrible facts. Every 13 seconds an elderly individual falls in the US, amounting to more than two and a half million falls a year. The number of fatal falls has also increased drastically. This is especially depressing as Dr. Joe Rosenthal of the Wexner School insists most of these falls are preventable.
More stunning than the general increase is how many of these falls are occurring in hospitals and other medical establishments. The primary causes of these falls are:
- Improperly trained or inattentive staff not providing proper support to an individual
- Slick floors or other surfaces that make it difficult to keep balance
- Ignoring fall risks for patients, such as cardiac and vision issues that increase the possibility of the patient losing their balance
- Medications that affect a patient’s equilibrium
The work of Dr. Rosenthal is appreciated, but a few balance clinics are not nearly enough to offset the general increase in hospital falls. It will take an entire overhaul of the medical system to address this issue, and it seems that few hospitals or other medical organizations are interested in a wholesale change to their model.
If you or someone you love has fallen in a hospital, it is up to you to help push for the major changes needed to prevent these incidents from occurring with such stunning regularity. Please contact a qualified attorney who can help you press the hospital to make the necessary changes.