Dropped Patients

Many nursing home and long-term care facility residents are unable to move themselves from one location to another, often needing the assistance of medical care staff to make moves. Many nursing homes have protocols on how to properly transfer patients, but all too often, understaffing and poor education leads to residents getting dropped during the move and suffering serious injuries as a result.

Dropped Patient PA

Every year, thousands of nursing home patients are dropped, and a great number of these incidents lead to serious injuries. Although there are numerous causes for dropped patients, they almost always revolve around lack of training, understaffing, or faulty equipment. When patients are dropped and consequentially injured, it can cause a great deal of trauma. Many patients suffer from serious injuries when they are dropped, ranging from broken or fractured bones to organ and brain damage because they are unable to brace themselves for the fall. In some situations, the injuries sustained from a drop are fatal. Injuries are often more serious in nursing homes and long-term care facilities because residents are already in a weakened state.

The leading cause of preventable injury and death are falls and drops in patients over 65 years of age. It is estimated that patients in nursing homes fall or are dropped—on average—three times a year. In certain situations, Hoyer Lifts are commonly used to assist staff in transporting patients from beds to wheelchairs, from wheelchair to bath, from one chair to another, or from chair to toilet (or vice versa). These activities happen throughout the day, and many facilities require two more staff members to properly transfer a resident. The transportation of residents and improper use of aids pose a significant risk to patients—as many nursing homes are equipped with mechanical devices, wheelchairs, or beds that are poorly maintained, which results in increased risk factors for drops. Often, when it comes to using Hoyer lifts, nursing home staff are not properly trained. When nursing home staff fail to follow proper procedures while using Hoyer lifts or other mechanical devices, the resident is at extreme risk for injury. If the Hoyer lift is not properly maintained by staff, the device is liable to become defective, resulting in breakage and possible injury.  Staff should also be trained properly to learn how to properly attach the sling and how to properly seat a resident in the sling. Negligence by the staff to do either of these tasks can result in catastrophic injuries.

Many times, when a resident is dropped in a care facility, it is not a matter of abuse but simply bad judgement or not following protocol. However, it is not always the fault of the staff member, but the nursing home that should be held responsible. Nursing homes are required to provide residents with a legally and ethically appropriate standard of care, including a safe environment and properly trained staff. When injuries occur to your loved one due to the negligence of nursing home staff, the nursing home should be held responsible.

The attorneys at Rinehardt Law Firm understand the complexity of dropped patient cases, and we will work with a team of experts to get the real story and hold the nursing home responsible for injuries sustained during a case of negligence.