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Can Falling out of Bed be Grounds for a Medical Malpractice Case

A patient falls from the hospital gurney in the emergency room, suffers a fractured shoulder and the hospital blames the patient for this since the patient was told to stay in bed. Can this be grounds for a personal injury or a medical malpractice case?

Doctors Instruct Nurses to Restrain the Patient

This patient was brought to the hospital in an ambulance, she was having severe psychiatric issues, and she was almost suicidal. The patient was brought in screaming and she was totally out of control. When she was brought into the emergency room, the doctors told her that she was going to be restrained. Then the doctors instructed the nurses to restrain the patient.

The doctors did not feel confident that she was capable enough to get up and do whatever she needed to and she could have been a threat to hospital equipment and other patients. Now, the patient is on the emergency room gurney and the doctors sedated her but failed to restrain her. When the doctors had attended to her, they had specifically told the nursing staff to restrain the patient. This is because when she is sedated there is a likelihood of her trying to get up or shifting around so that she actually falls and injures herself.

Nurses Fail to Follow Doctor's Orders

This is exactly what happened. The patient was sedated, and then when she had to go to the bathroom, she pushed the call button. However, no one came to her assistance even after fifteen minutes had passed. She really needed to go to the bathroom so she tries to get out of bed and stable herself on her own. She falls and fractures her shoulder.

The patient is even more agitated now and files a lawsuit against the hospital and against the corporation that owns that particular hospital. This corporation refuses to take any responsibility for the patient's injuries, and say that it was the patient's fault that she fractured her own shoulder.

After the case was filed, the patient's lawyer was able to show in the deposition and from the medical records kept by the hospital that the company's position was incorrect and in fact it was indeed the hospital that was responsible for the patient's injuries. In fact, the doctors had ordered the nurses to restrain the patient, and this order was ignored by the nurses. If the nurses had followed the doctor's orders and hospital protocols, the patient would not have been able to get out of bed at all. This would have averted her fall and the fracturing of her shoulder.

Liability and Damages

Now this patient had to undergo additional care and treatment for her broken shoulder, only because the hospital failed to follow its own procedures. This shows that the hospital was liable since it failed to provide the accepted standard of care which resulted in the patient injuring herself. Secondly, the fall caused the patient to fracture her shoulder which is a significant injury.

Therefore, even though this patient had serious psychiatric issues, she could have avoided falling down if the nurses had followed the instructions given by the doctors at that time. Based on this information and understanding, even though the doctors were not responsible for the patient's injuries, the hospital was held liable since the nurses failed to follow the doctor's basic instructions.

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