Understanding Hospital Falls Causing TBIs in Oregon: Portland Medical Malpractice Lawyer Explains
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a very serious type of personal injury. It can result in catastrophic and debilitating symptoms which could be with a person for the rest of his or her life. The a TBI “as a disruption in the normal function of the brain that can be caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or penetrating head injury.” The CDC also says that “everyone” is at risk for a TBI. While most people may think that a TBI is a type of injury that can only occur in a high speed motor vehicle accident such as with an 18 wheeler, that is not necessarily always true. In fact, the CDC also reports its statistics that motor vehicle accidents only account for 13.2% of all TBI visits in emergency departments. Rather, 47.9% of all hospital cases involving a TBI are caused by unintentional falls. One of the most common scenarios are hospital falls causing TBIs. Our Portland medical malpractice lawyer discusses this serious type of case.
And this is a case. Under Oregon law, hospitals need to keep their premises reasonable safe under the circumstances just like any other facility. This means that hospitals must keep their floors clean and free of slippery substances, debris, and defects which could cause a resident to fall. But hospital falls go beyond just keeping the ground reasonable safe and clean.
Hospitals Owe a Protective Duty to Patients
Not only do hospitals have an obligation like any other business or landowner to keep their property reasonable safe and free of defects or dangerous conditions, but hospitals must also keep their patients reasonably safe. Part of this includes ensuring that patients are protected from falls.
This is important because there are many patients who are a fall risk. This is obvious of elderly patients who are a fall risk by virtue of being over 65 years old. But patients who meet these criteria may be at a heightened risk of falling which residents most protect:
- Already fallen
- Dizzy or have a loss of balance
- Had foot, leg, or lower limb surgery or injuries
- On medication that can make them fatigued or weak, especially pain medications
- Have head injuries which could affect balance
- Have eye injuries which could affect perception
- Weak or fraile
- Have delicate injuries or hearing after a procedure which a fall could be catastrophic, or
- Have other conditions which could be suggestive of a fall risk.
Liability for Hospital Falls Causing TBIs
As the CDC points out, almost half of all TBI hospital visits are due to unintentional falling. This is why a hospital must triage and evaluate patients for their level of risk of falling. This includes ensuring that they are not a high fall risk and, if they are, to protect them from falling. The failure to take preventable measures on high risk or even medium risk patients could result in liability against the hospital or doctor treating the patient.
Thus, hospitals need to take the following steps to mitigate the risk of falls:
- Use bed alarms
- Use bed rails where appropriate
- Push back furniture from bed to reduce hitting it if a patient gets out of bed
- Give the patient slip-resistant socks
- Put mats down on side of bed
- Lower the height of the bed
- Have an extra push button for help
- On high risk patients who elope or wander, use a one-on-one monitor
- On patients who are aggressive and not listening which could result in them hurting themselves due to a fragile condition or others, the use of physical restraints if ordered by a physician, and
- Other methods that keep a watch on a resident.
Did You or a Loved One Suffer a Brain Injury? Know of Hospital Falls Causing TBIs? We Can Help
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed as a result of medical malpractice contact the Oregon Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Kuhlman Law at our number below or fill out the intake form. We offer a free initial case evaluation and handle cases on a contingency fee which means that you pay no money unless we recover.
Our law firm handles cases throughout the state including Bend and Portland Oregon, Redmond, Central Oregon, Sisters, Madras, Multnomah County, Deschutes County, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Lane County, Medford, Gresham, La Grande, Albany, Medford, Beaverton, Umatilla, Pendleton, Cottage Grove, Florence, Oregon City, Springfield, Keizer, Grants Pass, McMinnville, Tualatin, West Linn, Forest Grove, Wilsonville, Newberg, Roseburg, Lake Oswego, Klamath Falls, Happy Valley, Tigard, Ashland, Milwakie, Coos Bay, The Dalles, St. Helens, Sherwood, Central Point, Canby, Troutdale, Hermiston, Silverton, Hood River, Newport, Prineville, Astoria, Tillamook, Lincoln City, Hillsboro, and Vancouver, Washington.
We also have an office in Minneapolis, Minnesota and take medical malpractice cases throughout the Twin Cities, including St. Paul, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Dakota County, Washington County, Anoka County, Scott County, Blaine, Stillwater, and Saint Paul Minnesota.
Please act quickly, there is a limited time (Statute of Limitations) in which you can bring a claim under the law.