A 94-year-old nursing home patient fell from her geriatric chair to the floor. As a result of the fall, she sustained subarachnoid hemorrhages, a compression fracture to a vertebrae in her neck, and a compression fracture to a vertebrae in her mid-back. She died the next day. We contended her death was a direct result of the fall.
We contended on behalf of the patient's family that although the patient was a high fall risk, the nursing home failed to take proper fall precautions, including better supervision of her, moving her closer to the nurse's station, and using a fall alarm on her chair. The nursing home responded that the patient had not fallen in over one year before the fall and was being properly supervised and monitored. The nursing home also claimed that no chair fall alarm was necessary because the patient's physician had discontinued her bed and chair fall alarms several months before the fall.
In addition, the nursing home claimed the patient died of a stroke-like hemorrhage that occurred not because of the fall, but because of her longstanding history of hypertension (high blood pressure). We responded that her blood pressure was under excellent control before the fall, spiked immediately after the fall, and any stroke-like conditions occurred when the patient's blood pressure spiked as a result of the trauma from the fall. The patient was survived by several children, only one of which was significantly involved in her care just prior to death. The case settled before trial for six figures.
Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.
Posted on Sat, September 13, 2008
by Robert Carter