Everything listed under: fall

  • Nursing Home Patient Falls, Fractures Hip, and Dies; Nursing Home Settles

    An elderly female nursing home patient was, on admission to the nursing home, a high fall risk.Right Hip Fracture with Surgical Fixation After admission of the nursing home, the patient had been permitted to fall on no less than ten separate occasions. As a result of the tenth fall, the patient sustained a right hip fracture, for which surgery was required. One month later, the nursing home permitted  the patient to fall yet again, and the fall resulted in headaches, hip pain, and a hematoma and a laceration to the back of the patient’s head. Following these final two falls, the patient experienced a decline in health, began receiving hospice care, and died several months later.

    The nursing home settled this case before trial for a confidential amount in the mid-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. Right Hip Fracture with Surgical Fixation Right Hip Fracture with Surgical Fixation
  • Patient's Falls Result in Hip and Femur Fractures and Surgery;Northern Virginia Nursing Home Set

    We recently obtained an excellent settlement in the case of an elderly female patient of a Northern Virginia nursing home who was permitted to fall on multiple occasions.  As a result of the falls, the patient sustained an intertrochanteric fracture of the right hip and a comminuted spiral fracture of the mid- to distal right femur, the latter of which required surgery to remove hardware that was surgically placed following the former.  

    Spiral Femur Fracture With Surgical FixationThe patient was known by the nursing home before the falls to be a high fall risk.  However, the nursing home failed to implement with the patient basic fall safety measures like a low bed, fall mat, bed/chair fall alarms, appropriate supervision, and adequate staffing.  The nursing home also failed to act before the falls on recommendations by the facility's physical therapy department for the patient to be placed in a gerichair when  out of bed instead of a wheelchair to reduce her risk of falling.  The nursing home also medicated the patient with Percocet, a narcotic pain killer, long after the patient's physician instructed the facility to discontinue its use, which resulted in chemical sedation ("chemical restraint") of the patient.  A lap buddy ("physical restraint") was also used with the patient despite the nursing home's failure to justify its use in writing, obtain a physician’s order authorizing its use, observe the patient's use of the lap buddy every 30 minutes, release the lap buddy 10 minutes every hour, and document observation and release of the lap buddy consistently.  The nursing home also did not timely ensure the patient was diagnosed with injury by obtaining an x-ray, having her evaluated by a physician, and transferring her to a hospital.  We also learned the nursing home's staff intentionally placed all of the facility's patients to bed by 7:30 pm each night, which had the unfortunate effect also of increasing fall risk when they woke up in the early morning hours.Spiral Femur Fracture with Internal Fixation  

    The patient's hip and femur fractures and surgery resulted in limitations with weight bearing, required extensive therapy and pain medication, eliminated gains the patient experienced with therapy before the fractures, limited her ambulation to wheelchair/gerichair, caused her to become more dependent with activities of daily living, decreased muscle and motor strength, accelerated contractures and arthritis in her knees, and caused generalized deconditioning. 

    The case settled in the high six figures.  The exact amount of settlement is confidential at the nursing home's request.
    ________________________________________________________________

    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.

    Spiral Femur Fracture With Surgical Fixation Spiral Femur Fracture with Internal Fixation
  • Patient Sustains Hip Fracture and Medication Errors; Roanoke Area Nursing Home Settles

    A Roanoke area nursing home permitted a patient to fall and sustain a right intertrochanteric hip fracture, for which surgery was required.  On admission to the facility, the patient was a fall risk.  She had fallen at the facility eight times before the fall that fractured her hip.

      

    Right Hip Fracture with Surgical FixationThe patient was also a victim at the nursing home of medication errors.  Specifically,  following a separate transfer from the nusing home to the hospital, the patient was diagnosed by a hospital physician with a benzodiazepine and opiate overdose.  The patient's health declined and she died approximately one year after the hip fracture and medication error.    

     

    With respect to the hip fracture, the patient's family claimed the nursing home was negligent because it failed to provide the patient with basic fall prevention measures: fall alarms in bed and chair; a low bed; a fall mat; and closer supervision.  The family also claimed that if the nursing home's staff had been more attentive to the patient's condition, the medication errors would not have occurred.  

     

    We were able to obtain settlement in the mid six figures on terms that, at the nursing home's request, are confidential. 
    ________________________________________________________________
    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. 

    Right Hip Fracture with Surgical Fixation
  • Nursing Home Patient Falls from Bed and Fractures Both Legs; Richmond Nursing Home Settles

    An aide at a Richmond nursing home permBilateral Femur Fracturesitted a completely immobile bed bound patient to fall from bed.  As a result of the fall, the patient sustained comminuted spiral fractures of her right and left fumurs.   The patient did not receive surgery for the leg fractures because she was not ambulatory and the risk of surgery on both legs was too great.  The patient lived for approximately one year after the fractures and died for reasons unrelated to the fractures. 

    The patient's family claimed the nursing home failed to supervise the patient propoerly to prevent the fall.  The patient's medical expenses were approximately $20,000.  The case settled for mid-six figures on terms that, at the nursing home's request, remain confidential.
    ________________________________________________________________
    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.  

    Bilateral Femur Fractures
  • Patient's Fall Results in Rib Fractures, Respiratory Distress, and Death; Nursing Home Settles

    We recently obtained a very favorable settlement in the case of a nursing home patient who sustained rib fractures in the second of two falls on the same day.  The patient was admitted to the Roanoke area nursing home for rehabilitation following an extended hospital stay for pneumonia. 

    While at the nursing home, the patient was at all times a high fall risk because of decreased strength and endurance, an unsteady gait, a limp with hip pain, confusion caused by medications, prior cardiac compromise that included an ejection fraction of 20-25%, and a documented need for close supervision and assistance by staff when ambulating.  However, according to the nursing home's fall assessment, the patient was not a fall risk. 

    The patient sustained two falls on January 4, 2004.  Because the nursing home's fall assessment of the patient on admission was in error, the nursing home failed before the first fall to implement basic fall prevention measures, like increased supervision, bed and chair fall alarms, and assistance with walking.  The first fall did not result in any injury, but the nursing home did not re-assess the patient's fall risks after that fall.  As a result, no added fall precautions were provided to the patient before the second of the patient's falls that day.  The second fall occurred in the patient's room when, despite the presence in the patient's room of a member of the nursing home's staff, the patient was permitted to walk unassisted and without supervision.  The patient fell backwards against a heater in his room.

    As a result of the second fall, the patient sustained fractures of the fourth through eighth left ribs with a likely pulmonary contusion.  We were prepared to prove that because of the severe pain caused by the rib fractures, the effects of narcotic pain medications required to treat the pain, and loss of ability to participate in rehabilitation, the patient's injuries resulted in loss of respiratory ability and effort, increased lung compromise, accumulation of pulmonary infiltrate, inability to clear the infiltrate, consolidation, atelectasis, and pneumonia, all of which culminated in respiratory distress and respiratory failure, which, given the patient's vulnerable cardio-respiratory status, caused his death.

    The case was settled before trial for six figures.  Specifics about the settlement were made confidential at the nursing home's request.
    ____________________________________________________________
    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, Martinsville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia

  • 91-Year-Old Patient Sustains Fractures and Head Injury in Fall; Roanoke Area Nursing Home Settles

    We recently obtained a very favorable settlement in the case of a 91-year-old female patient who sustained a fall with fractures and head injury at a Roanoke area nursing home. Facial Fracture; Brain Injury; Clavicle Fracture 

    While at the nursing home, the patient was at all times a high fall risk because she had dementia and attempted on numerous occasions to get out of bed without assistance.  On admission, the nursing home instructed the patient's family to hire sitters around the clock precisely because she was a fall risk.  The family reluctantly agreed.  For reasons unknown, the nursing home's staff later instructed the patient's family that sitters could be discontinued on the evening shift even though the patient remained a high fall risk during all shifts.

    In the early morning hours of May 10, 2006, the patient sustained an unwitnessed fall in her bedroom. We contended the nursing home failed to take proper fall prevention measures to ensure the patient's safety before and at the time of her fall. Specifically, the nursing home did not properly supervise the patient or provide staff of sufficient numbers or location to respond timely to the patient's fall alarm.  One of the patient's privately-hired sitters was later told by a member of the nursing home's staff that the nursing home "let her fall" and "did not put the [fall] alarm on before the fall." 

    After the fall, the nursing home failed to obtain immediate emergency medical assistance and treatment for the patient.  Even though the patient's fall occurred as early as 5:00 a.m., the patient did not receive a CT scan until early afternoon on the day of the fall, and she was not sent to the hospital until the late afternoon. The nursing home’s own director of nursing acknowledged the patient should have received emergency medical attention immediately after the fall, especially since she had an obvious head injury and was on anticoagulants. The nursing home also failed to have in place a policy directing staff to obtain emergency medical assistance.  The Virginia Department of Health investigated the patient's injuries and concluded the nursing home's care and treatment was deficient.  

    As a result of the fall, the patient sustained impact to her face and head, lacerations to the face and right hand, bruising to the right side of her face, a right orbital fracture that included fractures to the orbital rim, floor, anterior and lateral walls of the right maxillary sinus, and the inferior wall of the right orbit, significant bruising around her right shoulder, a right clavicle fracture, and a right scapula fracture.  She also developed an intraventricular bleed and a traumatic brain injury as a result of the fall. As a result of her orthopedic injuries, the patient was permitted to bear weight on her right shoulder only as tolerated and was placed in an arm sling. She also experienced pain and increased confusion as a result of her injuries.  The patient died for reasons unrelated to the fall approximately nine months later.

    The case was settled before trial for six figures.  Specifics about the settlement were made confidential at the nursing home's request.
    ____________________________________________________________
    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, Martinsville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia

    Facial Fracture; Brain Injury; Clavicle Fracture
  • Nursing Home Patient Fractures Hip in Fall; Roanoke Area Nursing Home Settles

    We recently obtained a very favorable settlement in the case of an 81-year-old female nursing home patient who was allowed by the facility to fall and sustain a hip fracture.  She was also the victim of medication errors while a patient at the nursing home. Right Hip Fracture with Surgical Fixation

    The patient was admitted to a Roanoke area nursing home on July 20, 2005 following hospitalization for a left hip fracture she sustained in a fall at home.  On admission to the facility, she was a high fall risk because she had an unsteady gait, poor/impaired coordination, poor safety awareness, short term memory loss, dementia, bladder incontinence, and a history of falls.  While a patient at the nursing home, she was allowed to fall on multiple occasions. Specifically,

    • on July 22, 2005 at 4:00 pm, the nursing home's nurse’s notes reflected that the patient was found on the floor in her room "between the two beds in stocking feet". The nursing home's fall investigation documents reflect she was found lying on her back after staff responded to a loud noise and heard her yelling.  Her wheelchair was found unlocked, her shoes had been removed, and she was attempting to get into her bed when she fell.  The nursing home responded to the fall by recommending to staff that she be reminded regularly to ask for assistance;
    • on July 23, 2005 at 6:15 am, the nursing home's nurse’s notes reflect the patient was found in the bathroom "on the floor after staff heard her yelling for help."  The nursing home's fall investigation documents reflect the patient was getting off of the toilet without assistance when she fell.  The nursing home's staff was instructed after the incident not to leave her unattended.  The nursing home responded to this fall by recommending to staff that the patient be provided with a personal assistance device (PAD), which is a pendant worn by the patient that permits the patient to summons help after an emergency. A PAD is not a fall alarm;
    • on July 25, 2005 at 4:30 am, the nursing home's nurses notes reflect the patient was found "on the floor" of her room. The nursing home's fall investigation documents reflect she said she "had to go to the bathroom and could not wait for help." The nursing home responded to this fall by recommending to staff that the patient be provided with a low bed and a fall mat at bedside. She was also provided with a motion sensor fall alarm for her bed. No fall alarm was provided for use while she was in a wheelchair;
    • on August 6, 2005, the patient was allowed to fall again, this time at the nurse’s station. The nursing home's fall investigation documents reflect that the patient was in her wheelchair at the nurse’s station, stood up to use the phone, lost her footing, grabbed her wheelchair, and fell. The string on the patient's PAD was noted to have been untied and frayed at the time of the fall.  As a result of the fall, the patient sustained a right hip fracture.

    We contended the nursing home was negligent in connection with the August 6, 2005 fall by failing to supervise the patient while she was at the nurse’s station, by not equipping her wheelchair with a chair fall alarm, and by failing to ensure her wheelchair was locked.

    With respect to supervision, the patient was observed before the fall only by a member of the nursing home's housekeeping staff, who saw her stand and observed her "talking on the phone in the hallway." The housekeeper took the time to ask the patient "what she was doing" and the patient responded that she was "trying to call her daughter." The housekeeper then took the time to tell the patient she "needed to sit down before she falls and gets hurt." According to the housekeeper, the patient then attempted to sit down, turned around, lost her footing, tried to break the fall by using the wheelchair, and fell to the floor. At no time during her lengthy interaction with the patient did the housekeeper summons help from nursing staff, and no one on behalf of the nursing home intervened to assist the patient safely back into her wheelchair.

    With respect to the nursing home's failure to provide the patient with a fall alarm in her chair, the patient had been provided approximately two weeks before the fall on August 6, 2005 with a motion sensor fall alarm, but only for her bed.  She had not before the fall been provided with a fall alarm for use in her wheelchair. As a result, the nursing home's staff was not alerted when the patient began to rise from her wheelchair at the nurse’s station or as the patient remained standing at the nurse’s station talking on the telephone before the fall occurred. 

    Finally, the patient's wheelchair had not been locked when she was left at the nurse’s station. Just prior to the fall, the nursing home's housekeeper observed that the patient was unable to stabilize herself when she turned to sit in her wheelchair. A member of the nursing home's staff later confided to the patient's family that no nurses were present to supervise the patient at the time of the fall, her wheelchair had not been locked, and the wheelchair rolled backwards when she attempted to sit in it. In addition, the nursing home's head of nursing told the patient's family the nursing home did not have enough staff to provide one-to-one supervision, the facility would make sure she was at the nurse’s station in her wheelchair so staff could supervise her appropriately.

     

    As a result of the August 6, 2005 fall, the patient sustained a displaced right femoral neck (i.e. right hip) fracture. She was admitted on an emergency basis to a local hospital, where she underwent a bipolar prosthetic arthroplasty the day after the fall. She remained at the hospital through August 11, 2005, at which time she was transferred back to the nursing home for rehabilitation. She suffered significant pain and immobility as a result of the right hip fracture.

     

    Upon the patient's return to the nursing home, the facility's staff administered the wrong medication to her in error.  Specifically, the patient received Chlordiazepoxide (a drug with sedative and hypnotic properties) instead of Chlorthalidone (a diuretic) in error from August 14, 2005 through August 19, 2005. The nursing home explained the error by claiming the names of the two drugs had similar spellings. The nursing home's repeated medication errors caused the patient to suffer significant lethargy, from which she eventually recovered. The patient fell again at the nursing home on August 26, 2005, but thankfully sustained no injury.  She died on August 31, 2005 for reasons unrelated to the fall.

    The case was settled before trial for six figures.  Specifics about the settlement were made confidential at the nursing home's request.
    ____________________________________________________________
    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, Martinsville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia 

    Right Hip Fracture with Surgical Fixation
  • 90-Year-Old Patient Falls; Danville Area Nursing Home Settles

    We recently obtained a very favorable settlement in the case of a 90-year-old female patient who was permitted to fall at a Danville area nursing home.  On February 9, 2007 at approximately 10:30 pm, an aide at the nursing home was changing the patient when she permitted the patient to roll out of the bed and fall to the floor. The nursing home documented in its nurse’s notes only that the patient was "found" on the floor. As a result of the fall, the patient sustained an oblique fracture of the right lower leg. 

    Lower Leg FractureAfter the fall, the patient was transferred to the hospital, where the fracture was reduced and a long leg fiberglass cast was applied.  The patient remained in the long leg cast until July 6, 2007, at which time a short leg fiberglass cast was applied.  The patient sustained abrasions to the leg caused by friction from the leg casts. The abrasions took several months to heal.  She also suffered swelling of the right lower leg, which required her to keep the leg elevated while in bed.  She also developed a pressure ulcer on her right heel from prolonged casting of the fracture. The pressure ulcer required debridement, but ultimately healed with scar tissue.

    The leg fracture also caused the patient to endure significant pain. She was medicated with morphine at the hospital. Thereafter, she was prescribed oxycodone for pain. From February 17, 2007 through July 14, 2007, her pain was consistently rated at 4 to 6 on a scale of 10, with 10 being the most severe pain possible.

    Due to delayed healing of the fracture and the absence of bone formation at the fracture site, the patient also required the use of a bone stimulator, which she began using on June 23, 2007. The bone stimulator was discontinued on August 7, 2007. The patient's fracture did not heal radiographically until August 7, 2007.

    The patient also remained non-weight bearing on the right leg for four months through June 6, 2007. She was required to wear a fracture boot when being transferred, turned, and repositioned in bed to prevent dislocation of the fracture. Her fracture boot was discontinued on September 14, 2007.  The patient died on November 22, 2007 - nine months after the fall - for reasons unrelated to the leg fracture.

    The case was settled before trial for six figures.  Specifics about the settlement were made confidential at the nursing home's request.
    ____________________________________________________________
    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, Martinsville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia

    Lower Leg Fracture
  • 100-Year-Old Patient is Dropped, Fractures Leg, and Requires Surgery; Nursing Home Settles

    A 100-year-old nursing home patient was dropped in her bathroom by a CNA, who was reportedly assisting her to toilet.  The nursing home's care plan required two care providers to be present with the patient during transfers and toileting.  Only one care provider was present when the patient was dropped. 

    As a result of the fall, the patient sustained a fracture of the left femoral shaft with extreme rotation, leg shortening, and pain with movement. The fracture required removal of an internal Femoral Fracture with Surgical Fixationfixation device used to repair an earlier left hip fracture and installation of a stabilizing rod and screws.  The patient remained hospitalized for ten days, after which she was returned to the nursing home.  The fracture and surgery prevented her from bearing full weight on her legs for over three months and permitted more extensive weight bearing thereafter only as tolerated.

    When she returned to the nursing home, she did not receive any anti-coagulants (blood thinners) to prevent blood clots.  Within several weeks, she developed a deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or blood clot, in her thigh and was returned back to the hospital for another four days.  She was released from the hospital and returned back to the nursing home, where she remains today.  The patient recently turned 101 years old.

    The case settled for six figures well before trial.
    ________________________________________________________________
    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

    Femoral Shaft Fracture with Surgical Fixation
  • Patient Shatters Ankle in Fall from Bed; Roanoke Area Nursing Home Settles

    We settled earlier today a case involving a 73-year old patient of a Roanoke area nursing home who was involved in an unwitnessed fall after she left her bed and attempted to waLeft Ankle Fracture with Surgical Fixationlk to her wheelchair.  The fall resulted in an open comminuted trimalleolar fracture of the left ankle that required open reduction internal fixation surgery.  The patient's family claimed the nursing home should have identified their mother as a fall risk on admission and should have provided her with a low bed, aSee the ankle after surgery. fall mat, and a bed alarm that would have prevented the fall and minimized her injuries.  The facility claimed it provided her with a low bed, a fall mat, and a bed alarm, all as reflected by the nursing home's medical records and the testimony of nurses and aides on the floor.     

    The patient, who was admitted to the nursing home only three days before the fall, had been diagnosed years earlier with dementia, schizophrenia, and a personality disorder.  According to the patient's treating physician, she only had two weeks to live when she was admitted to the nursing home.  The patient died two weeks after the fall from causes unrelated to the ankle fracture.

    The case settled for mid six figures.  The precise terms of settlement are confidential at the nursing home's request.
    ______________________________________________________________
    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.   

    Left Ankle Fracture with Surgical Fixation
  • Resident Falls at Assisted Living Facility; Facility Settles

    Hip Fracture; Knee Fracture; Elbow Fracture; Brain InjuryAn 87-year old assisted living resident fell and sustained hip and elbow fractures while walking from her bed to the bathroom. The resident was documented by the facility to be independent in her ambulation at the time of the fall and for the prior five years while she was a resident at the facility. Immediately before the fall, an aide observed that the resident was alert, stable when standing, and was walking independently. The plaintiff claimed the resident was a fall risk and should have been assisted physically and supervised visually while ambulating. The assisted living facility settled for mid six figures.

    Hip Fracture; Knee Fracture; Elbow Fracture; Brain Injury

 

PLEASE NOTE: THE RESULTS OBTAINED IN SPECIFIC CASES DEPEND ON A VARIETY OF FACTORS UNIQUE TO EACH CASE.  PAST CASE RESULTS DO NOT GUARANTEE OR PREDICT A SIMILAR RESULT IN FUTURE CASES.  THE RESULTS DESCRIBED IN THIS WEBSITE ARE FROM VIRGINIA CASES HANDLED DIRECTLY BY OUR OFFICE.