Hospital Falls Are Causing Concern
A hospital is supposed to be somewhere that you go to be safe, and to heal. It is not supposed to be somewhere that you end up more injured than when you came in. Yet, for millions of Americans, that is exactly what happens when they go into the hospital.
Falls in Hospitals Are Common
Many of these injuries have nothing to do with malpractice, or a doctor or nurse’s treatment. Rather, they are a result of falls. A recent article highlights this problem, and discusses why so many people tend to fall in hospitals.
The easy answer is that people who are older, frail, and sick, are more prone to falls. The solution then may be to restrict these patients’ movement around their room, and around the hallways of the hospital. However, the researchers found that it was not the elderly, but rather people in their 50s who were most likely to suffer a fall in a hospital.
Still, 1 in 4 people age 65 or older will end up the victim of a fall in a hospital. Of those who do fall, 30% sustain injury, with 10% of the falls resulting in serious injury. One percent of in-hospital falls result in death.
Why Patients Fall
There are many theories as to why so many people fall in hospitals. One idea is that patients may think they are healthier and more spry than they actually are. Denial of a patient’s own condition can be dangerous.
Then there is the unfamiliarity with surroundings, along with the often cramped confines of a hospital bed. A patient’s area may be cluttered with wires, bags on the floor, and sheets/bedding.
Patients in understaffed hospitals may have needs that are not immediately attended to. When help is not readily available, patients may roam hallways that they are unfamiliar with and in no shape to navigate, in an effort to find help.
Malpractice or Ordinary Negligence?
When a patient falls in a hallway, it is not always a malpractice case. In a malpractice case, there are complex pre-suit procedures that a victim must go through before a malpractice case can be filed, procedures that don’t exist in an ordinary negligence case, such as with a fall.
There is also a different time limit to file a lawsuit. A malpractice case generally has a two year time limit, whereas a general negligence case has a four year time limit.
This means that if someone is injured in a hospital, victims and their families should not just assume that the injury is caused by or not caused by malpractice, but should get legal advice to make sure they know what kind of case they are dealing with.
Contact the Miami personal injury lawyers at Jacobs Legal today if you are injured in a slip and fall. You may be entitled to damages from the negligent party.