Heartland of Galesburg nursing home was cited and fined by IDPH after a resident suffered a broken neck in a fall involving the facility’s transport van.
The resident was a long-term resident who was known as being impulsive and having poor safety awareness. A staff member was taking him to the local hospital for a CT scan after a previous fall. After arriving at the hospital, the staff member released the securing restraints for the wheelchair and told the resident to wait while he adjusted the lift gate. While the staff member was doing that, the resident released the wheelchair brakes and the wheelchair rolled backward and tipped over backwards resulting in the resident suffering a fracture of the C5 vertebra.
While at first blush, this nursing home fall may seem to be the “fault” of the nursing home resident. After all, he was the one who released the brake to the wheelchair. However, one recurrent theme in our nursing home fall cases is that residents who demonstrate impulsive behaviors or poor judgment for their own safety should not be counted on to do the things that are necessary to assure their own safety. That is the reason why things like bed alarms should be part of the arsenal of fall prevention tools.
In this case, there was a resident who was known to be impulsive and have poor judgment for his own safety. Under these circumstances, relying upon him to leave the brake in place was a mistake by the staff. The securing restraints should not have been released until the staff member was ready to take the resident off the transport. This simple mistake in judgment cost the resident a broken neck.
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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