IDPH has cited and fined Ascension Resurrection Place after a resident suffered a dislocated ankle as a result of an unsafe transfer while being transferred from the toilet to a wheelchair.
The resident at issue was admitted to the facility with diagnoses including multiple sclerosis, obesity, overactive bladder, and insomnia. Her care plan required two staff members to assist with transfers. However, the resident’s MDS assessments incorrectly documented her as needing only one assist. When interviewed, a nurse confirmed this was an error and provided the resident’s undated care card showing two person assist.
On the day of the accident an aide assisted the resident to the bathroom to change and prepare for bed. The aide helped the resident transfer to the toilet and after a few minutes, stood her up to return her to the nearby wheelchair. However, the resident expressed sudden fatigue and fear of falling, remaining immobile though the aide urged her to move towards the wheelchair. Despite attempting to hold the resident, the aide was unable “to lift her due to her weight.” The aide then eased the heavy resident to the floor to seek help. With the help of another aide, the resident was transferred to her wheelchair and bed.
Roughly 30 minutes later, the resident complained of right ankle pain and swelling. X-rays showed acute displaced trimalleolar fractures with ankle dislocation, requiring surgery to implant hardware.
This was a highly preventable accident with serious consequences for this resident. There were multiple failures on the part of the aide which led to this nursing home fall: failing to follow the care plan and failing to follow facility policies and procedures. Curing either one of these failures probably would have avoided this injury, but would not have cured the fact that this was substandard nursing home care all the way through. One of the things that we believe in our law firm is that bad care is often provided in nursing homes, and the fact that nothing bad happens is often the result of being lucky. Being lucky is not a substitute for good care because you never know when the gamble you take with a resident’s safety is going to come back to bite you.
An ankle fracture and dislocation is a serious injury for a person who is in the typical age range for nursing home residents. Many have significant pre-existing health issues which make undergoing surgery for repair of a dislocated ankle a risky proposition indeed. Assuming that they survive the surgery and immediate postoperative period, many do poorly following surgery for repair of an ankle fracture and dislocation, both in terms of quality of life and in terms of life expectancy. Any death that is caused in whole or in part by a nursing home fall which results in ankle dislocation can be the basis for a wrongful death lawsuit.
One of our core beliefs is that nursing homes are built to fail due to the business model they follow and that unnecessary accidental injuries and wrongful deaths of nursing home 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.