I’m sometimes asked, “What do you do if you have a fall in a hospital or a medical institution?” We have a deposition this afternoon in a case just like that. So, what do you do? Well, hospitals attend and treat people who have problems walking many, many times, whether someone has had a surgery, whether they’re on drugs, painkillers that make it harder to ambulate, whether they have a loss of coordination problem, whether the problem is in their legs or other parts of their body.
They have fall risk, and hospitals have requirements to do a fall risk assessment on somebody. They have a specific chart in everybody’s medical record who has that challenge of ambulating or getting around. They have a fall risk, and they have assessment device to try to do it. Have they had three or more falls in the past? Are they on medication that affects their dexterity? Have they had surgery? Do they have a leg injury? Are they confused? Do they have a danger of wandering? Are they weak? And then those fall risk assessments are made, and then the hospital is required to do that, and then the hospital is required to take certain protocols. They’ll put a band on your wrist to say what your fall risk is and they’ll color-code it. They’ll give you a walker. They’ll give you a wheelchair. They’ll give you a call light so that you can get assistance ambulating to the restroom. They’ll put up bed rails. If someone is non-compliant, there are other ways to handle that too, and the doctors and nurses should be vigilant of that.
We’ve had many cases like this. I’m Gary Burger. Our firm is Burger Law. We do medical malpractice in these types of claims as well. It is the duty of the hospital. If they’re in the business of providing care to folks who have fall risk and folks like these, they have to be in the business of complying with the standard of care to ensure that unnecessary falls do not happen.
I’ve had cases where a woman has a medical condition, a procedure, she falls, then they don’t do a fall risk, they don’t take care of her, and then next day she does the same thing. We have cases now where people are repeatedly hitting the call lights, asking for assistance to go the restroom. No one comes. They don’t want to go to the bathroom in their bed. They get up and they fall, even with a walker.
And so, there’s a variety of circumstances. I could go on and on, but it’s important for the public to know and injured folks know that there are specific protocols and fall risks and actions that the hospital has to take to protect your safety and prevent further injury.
What is the Hippocratic Oath? First, do no harm, and if you’re going to treat people and/or put people in a condition where they have fall risk, you have to treat them like that and handle that.
If you have any questions about fall risk assessments or people injured because of the rule violations by hospitals and not complying with appropriate policies to assess fall risk and protect folks from falls, give the personal injury lawyers at Burger Law a call at, (314) 542-2222. Thank you.