Between January 1, 1985 and January 1, 2010, the FDA received 828 incidents of patients caught, trapped, entangled, or strangled in hospital beds. The reports included 493 deaths, 141 nonfatal injuries, and 194 cases where staff needed to intervene to prevent injuries. Some siderails extend the full length of the bed; others, called half rails, are about 2-1/2 feet long. Some are metal, others plastic. Most can be raised or lowered. Siderails are divided, either vertically or horizontally, with slats spaced about six or more inches apart. This space can trap an elderly person’s head, causing him or her to strangle; or, to allow a thin, frail person to squeeze between the rails and fall to the floor. Often mattresses fit loosely in the frame, leaving gaps large enough to trap the resident between the mattress and siderail, also leading to suffocation.
“Rails decrease your risk of falling by 10 to 15 percent, but they increase the risk of injury by about 20 percent because they change the geometry of the fall,” says Steven Miles, geriatrician and bioethicist at the University of Minnesota, in a 2010 article published in The New York Times.
Bed rail guidelines and safety assessment kits can be found on the FDA website.
If your loved one has been injured in a elder care facility, a nursing home, or a short-term care facility, there are legal actions that can be filed to prevent others from falling victim. Our attorneys have the experience and sophistication necessary to handle your case with the highest degree of competence and care. With years of familiarity handling these complex cases, which should not be trusted to lesser-experienced firms, we work hard to obtain the highest levels of compensation for our clients.
PMHP Law, LLC represents clients throughout Georgia and the Southeastern United States. To schedule a free consultation with a lawyer at our firm, call us at 404-618-0882 or visit us online at www.eldercareabuselawyer.com.
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