If there is one place on earth where we should feel safe, it is the hospital. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. In fact, every year in the United States, between 700,000 and 1,000,000 people experience falls in hospitals. Not all of these falls result in patient injuries. However, patients can suffer internal bleeding, lacerations or fractures. And of course, these injuries are in addition to whatever condition the patient had that was the initial basis of the hospital stay.
It is incumbent upon hospitals to acknowledge and address every patient's fall risk factors. These factors can include the following:
- A patient's level of confusion.
- The patient's ability to walk and transfer safely.
- How frequently the patient needs to use the bathroom.
- The potential side effects of any medication the patient is on.
According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, hospital fall prevention is a team effort. It requires expertise and communication among the various individuals who are tasked with providing care for the patients. Moreover, the agency asserts that there are practices that are known to help prevent falls, but not all hospitals systematically employ these practices.
There is no question that a serious fall could severely worsen a patient's condition. And if that fall was preventable, then the hospital should be held liable for damages. This is important for two reasons. First, by holding a hospital accountable, there is a greater likelihood that changes will be made that could help prevent the injury of patients in the future.
And, if you or a loved one is harmed in a hospital fall, you will likely need compensation to cover your added medical expenses. As such, you may wish to contact a medical malpractice attorney who can investigate the fall and work in an effort to get you appropriate recompense.