The resident at issue had limited mobility die to a recent hip fracture and significant musculoskeletal weakness and needed assistance with bed mobility, meaning that staff members were required to help her move in bed. She was recognized as being a fall risk, and the bed was placed in a low position and a scoop mattress was used as a fall prevention measure. However, the bed was placed only about a foot from the wall.
During the middle of the night, she fell from bed, but instead of hitting the floor, she got wedged in between the bed and the wall. Due to her limitations in strength and mobility, she remained stuck in that position and died due to positional asphyxia, which meant that she was trapped in that position, unable get sufficient air in to breathe and as a result, suffocated. This was determined by the coroner, and will serve as the basis of a wrongful death lawsuit against the nursing home.
This nursing home had some reasonable steps in place as part of her care plan to address her fall risk, including the use of a low bed and a scoop mattress. However, those good steps were undone by placing the bed so close to the wall that it resulted in this lady suffocating when she fell from bed. The risk of positional asphyxia is one of the reasons that the use of bed rails is discouraged in the nursing home industry. This is an unusual set of circumstances for a wrongful death claim from a nursing home fall – unless there is a brain bleed, most often deaths from nursing home falls are much more remote in time from the injury, as is commonly the case with hip fractures.
One of our core beliefs is that nursing homes are built to fail due to the business model they follow and that unnecessary injuries and illnesses and wrongful deaths of residents are the inevitable result. Order our FREE report, Built to Fail, to learn more about why. Our experienced Chicago nursing home lawyers are ready to help you understand what happened, why, and what your rights are. Contact us to get the help you need.
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