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Liability issues with hospital falls

An Oregon hospital can be a busy place, and a patient may find that it is difficult to get attention in an understaffed situation. Even with a fall risk sign on the door, the patient may find that nurses and other caregivers are unavailable to provide prompt assistance for pain issues, nourishment needs, or trips to the restroom. However, dealing with the aftermath of a fall in this setting could be difficult, especially in the case of a joint replacement patient who suffers a serious injury to the involved joint. Determining whether such a fall is a case of medical malpractice can depend on the circumstances.

A medical opinion may be one of the most important needs in pursuing a claim of medical malpractice or hospital negligence. Medical malpractice actions may stem from a medical professional’s acts or omissions that lead to a patient suffering some type of harm. On an orthopedic floor, nursing staff and other workers should be attentive to the call buttons of patients who are at risk for falls. Failure to respond could lead to a patient’s injury. Such injuries might result from loose bed rails, a faulty trapeze for a knee patient or loose rails in the restroom.

A patient’s fall due to failure to call for help might not be deemed to be a case of medical malpractice. However, a nurse who ignores a patient’s repeated attempts to walk without assistance may have an obligation to prevent falls through the use of a special monitoring system. The details leading up to a fall are important factors in a potential malpractice action.

Pain medications can influence patients’ decisions as they attempt to move around after surgery, a factor that warrants careful monitoring by caregivers in the hospital. In reviewing a slip-and-fall case for possible malpractice action, a lawyer may review nursing records as well as witness statements about the incident.