Hospital Fall Attorneys in New York
What is Hospital Malpractice?
In its simplest terms, hospital malpractice refers to negligence or lack of reasonable care that contributes to illness or injury of a hospital patient. We put our trust in hospitals, not only as a place we go when we are hurt or traumatized, but also as a place we know to be safe. But, are hospitals really following all the right rules, and are they taking every precaution to ensure our safety while we are there? Many who have experienced an injury at a hospital will tell you this is not the case, and that there is room for considerable improvement in the prevention of falls.
What happens when someone falls at a hospital? Who is liable and could it have been prevented? When patients are injured on hospital property, there are many factors to consider, including negligence or malpractice on the part of the hospital. In order for a hospital to be considered negligent, there has to be proof that someone did, in fact, err in causing proper and reasonable care to a patient. Proving this type of negligence is not as easy as it sounds.
Causes of Hospital Falls
Hospital malpractice comes in many forms including surgical errors, negligent testing, medication mistakes and development of infections, to name a few. However, one of the most common forms of hospital malpractice is when a patient falls at the hospital. We wonder how patients could fall at the hospital when they are supposed to be watched and monitored. But the sad reality is that even those in charge sometimes fail to pay attention at critical times. Patient falls at a hospital happen when:
- bedrails are not put up and the patient falls or rolls out of bed
- a patient tries to walk after being bedridden or incapacitated for some time, loses balance and falls without the proper support or assistance
- a patient is sedated and unaware of his capabilities after taking medication
- early discharge, when the patient is sent home prematurely
- a patient falls during transfer from one bed to another, from wheelchair to bed, or from stretcher to other surface
- patients being left unattended, such as in a x-ray room
- poor lighting, slick floors or clutter in the hallways
According to the National Council of Aging, close to 30% of patient falls occurring in a hospital result in serious injury. Statistics like this make it imperative for hospitals to follow the mandated protocol and policies and procedures for patient care.
Prevention of Hospital Falls
While it may be impossible to predict every scenario and take every precaution, it is important to understand that hospitals have a responsibility for ensuring reasonable and safe care to those who are patients. What can a hospital do to prevent patient falls?
- Patients who have a propensity for falling, either through injury or sedation, can be placed closer to the nurse’s station for more acute monitoring
- Implementing beds and chairs that are more difficult for the patient to get out on his own, thus requiring assistance.
- While not always advisable, there are instances where patient restraints are used for the good of the patient and should be used on those who are at high risk of falling.
- Nurses and doctors can be staffed more appropriately. It is no surprise that doctors and nurses are overworked and understaffed. Lack of attention to patients is a huge cause of patient neglect and improper care.
A Case for Malpractice from Hospital Falls
Falls of any kind can be serious, particularly more so when the negligence of a caregiver in a hospital failed to perform up to a standard of reasonable care for the patient. Many victims of a hospital fall have suffered severe injuries including back injury, wrist and arm breakage and head injuries. After a hospital fall, a patient experiences escalating medical bills, rising costs of insurance, loss of work and, at times, years of rehabilitation and therapy. In order to move forward with proper compensation, a victim of a hospital fall should enlist the assistance of a qualified law firm who has renowned experience dealing with personal injury in the form of hospitals falls. An investigation will uncover critical elements such as:
- Hospital staffing: Was it appropriate at the time of the incident?
- Hospital protocol and policy? Are proper methods being followed when it comes to prevention and aftercare of a hospital fall victim?
- Was there actual negligence on the part of the doctor or nurse?
- Is the hospital or room well-maintained or are features neglected, such as outdated furniture, unkempt floors and inefficient monitoring systems?
- Are proper tools being used at the hospital, such as handrails, lift supports, and up-to-date wheelchairs, etc?
- Were there witnesses to the incident?
Legal Help for Hospital Fall Victims
Since hospitals are required to meet standards and codes of conduct, proving a case of hospital negligence and malpractice is difficult for the patient who wants to take on the health system alone. Proving failure of staff or health care providers as malpractice requires subpoenas, witnesses, expert witnesses, and an inherent understanding of the operations of that particular hospital, including protocol and emergency policy. If you or a loved one has been injured due to hospital error that caused you or someone you know be injured from a fall, the hospital malpractice team at Finz & Finz, P.C., can assist you through every step of the process. You can reach them toll from at (855) TOP-FIRM or fill out the Free Hospital Malpractice Patient Falls Case Evaluation Form to start the process with a no-obligation consultation. They are ready to assist you throughout the entire ordeal.