Are Hospital Falls Considered Medical Malpractice?

December 29, 2015 | Crandall & Pera Law
Are Hospital Falls Considered Medical Malpractice?

When you are hospitalized for any reason, your healthcare facility has an obligation to make arrangements to protect you from any further harm. This includes considering the possibility that you may be unable to stand or walk on your own, especially following surgery or the administration of drugs.

Whether hospital falls constitute malpractice is often hotly debated. The National Law Review reports “There has been some inconsistency in determinations among... courts... on this issue. This makes it very difficult to determine or predict whether a hospital fall case will be deemed a medical malpractice and, therefore, subject to the medical malpractice procedural requirements.”

Hospitals will try to protect themselves

It would be better in all cases for the hospitals and their insurance carriers if all falls were classified as general negligence instead of medical malpractice. However, the reality of the situation is that your doctors, nurses, and others are responsible for your safety while you are hospitalized.

According to the American Nurses Association, “Falls represent a major public health problem around the world. In the hospital setting, falls continue to be the number one adverse event with approximately 3-20% of inpatients falling at least once during their hospitalization. Of those, 30 to 51% of falls in hospitals result in some injury (Oliver, Healey, & Haines, 2010). Of these, 6 to 44% experience similar types of injury (e.g., fracture, subdural hematomas, or excessive bleeding) that may lead to death.”

Hospital falls are often preventable. The National Institutes of Health published a report that found a strong correlation between adequate staffing and hospital falls. Patients often fell after:

  • Getting out of bed after a call button went unanswered

  • Suffering balance problems or weakness after being overmedicated

  • Being transferred without adequate staff to lift patient

  • Improperly using bed rails

If you or a loved one suffered injuries after a fall during a hospital stay, you may be the victim of medical malpractice. Often, there is a time limit for filing a claim. The experienced Ohio and Kentucky medical malpractice attorneys at Crandall & Pera Law can evaluate the details of your case and determine whether you may be entitled to compensation. Contact us today for a free consultation.