Can a fall inside a hospital be the result of malpractice?
It depends. Not every fall is predictable but some patients are distinctly at a greater risk of falling than others. Around 2-7 out of every 1,000 patients fall while in the hospital, and 4-6 percent of those will be seriously injured. Many of those falls could have been prevented with proper care.
In order to determine if you might have a case for malpractice due to a fall, take a careful look at the situation and ask yourself a few questions.
1. Do you already have mobility problems? If you’re starting to find it harder to walk due to age or a medical condition, that’s a mobility problem. If you use a cane or walker, even just outside the house or on “bad” days, you should automatically be considered a fall risk. If the hospital asked you these questions (and they should have) and you answered them honestly, you should have automatically been identified as a fall risk.
2. Were you having symptoms of a known or unknown condition that could have made you susceptible to a fall? For example, if you were lightheaded or outright dizzy, that made you a fall risk — even if you didn’t know the cause of your condition. If you suffer from hypoglycemia or an unstable blood pressure, either of which can cause disorientation, that makes you a fall risk. If you told the hospital you were suffering symptoms that increased your likelihood of falling, you should have been identified as a fall risk and treated accordingly.
3. Could the combinations of medications you were put on while in the hospital have caused you to fall? For example, if you were prescribed sleeping medication like Ambien — which is known to cause sleepwalking in some people — your bed should have been alarmed and you should have been watched to make sure that you didn’t get up to walk around while still asleep. If you were given high-powered pain medication, you should have been put under observation and helped back and forth to the bathroom so that you didn’t fall.
Ultimately, you should discuss the issue with an attorney and let the attorney decide because there are many nuances to any malpractice claim. For more information on how our firm approaches these kinds of personal injury cases, please visit our page.