Patient Falls are the Leading Cause of Injury in Utah Hospitals

Patients who are injured in Utah hospitals today are most often the victims of slips and falls. When you visit the hospital, you expect treatment for a medical condition or injury. What you don’t expect is to fall and experience further injury. Yet, according to the National Institutes of Health, as many as 20 percent of patients checking into hospitals fall during their stay, and as many as 30 percent of these falls result in injury.

Causes of Falls in Hospitals

Patients who fall while in the hospital may suffer disabling injuries, including bone fractures and excessive external or internal bleeding. A serious fall may even lead to a patient’s death. Many factors contribute to patients falling and suffering injuries in the hospital, and chief among these is negligence by a medical professional or hospital staff member. Patients often fall when they are left unattended in treatment or recovery rooms. Nurses sometimes fail to provide proper care and supervision for patients who are disoriented and confused. At times, a delay in the nursing staff responding to a call bell leads to a patient falling. Environmental factors, such as cluttered hallways and slick floors, also cause many patients to fall.

Hospital Fall Prevention

Every hospital has fall prevention protocols in place, and these are intended to ensure patient safety. Typically, nurses are expected to complete a risk assessment of all patients to determine the likelihood of their falling while in the hospital. This evaluation includes checking the patient’s vision and walking ability as well as assessing the effects of his or her medical condition and medications. Patients who are designated in higher risk categories may be placed in rooms with easier bathroom access or that are closer to the nursing station. Patients may also be more closely monitored, either by the use of a bed alarm or by having a staff member remain in the room with the patient.

Legal Recourse for Patients

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services classifies patient falls as “never events,” meaning that they are completely preventable and should never occur. Most patients who fall and suffer injuries in the hospital do so because of medical malpractice in the form of negligence by a medical professional. Depending upon the severity of a fall, the patient may wish to file a medical malpractice suit to recover damages, especially if complications, serious injury or death result from the incident. A claim may be made against the hospital itself or against particular staff members, including doctors, nurses and support staff.

Patients who have suffered injuries due to falling have the right to compensation. If you or a loved one has suffered a fall while in the hospital, contact the professional attorneys at Rasmussen and Miner. Their experienced lawyers will be happy to discuss your case and determine the best course of action if you have suffered an injury in a Utah hospital.