Nursing Home Resident Asphyxiated by Improperly Installed Bed Rails

According to court testimony, safety failures in a nursing home led to the death of a resident asphyxiated when she became trapped in her bed. The 89-year-old woman died when her head and neck became lodged between the headboard and side rails fitted to stop her falling out.

According to court records, a similar incident occurred just three weeks before the woman's death but no changes were made. The judge noted that the woman's death was "so thoroughly avoidable".  The judge also said that the previous similar incident was a serious aggravating factor and should have alerted staff that action was needed to prevent further entrapment.

The resident had been checked hourly on the night of her death, but at 6.30 am staff found her with the head trapped between the bed rails and the headboard. She had already passed away. following the incident the facility was found to have multiple beds with improperly installed side rails. Staff were not trained on how to assemble the rails or how to assess their safety.  For more, read the story.


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.

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