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Resident dies after nursing home failed to prevent fall

One residential care facility in another state has recently been found to be responsible when an elderly patient suffered a serious fall and died less than a week later. The nursing home has reportedly failed to properly maintain equipment that is used to help transfer incapacitated patients that are unable to move on their own from a bed to a chair. This incident may be of interest to Maryland families who have loved ones in these types of facilities.

The tragic fall took place last March when a woman who suffered from an advanced stage of dementia was being lifted from her bed into another chair. The device that was being used to move the woman, a mechanized lift harness, malfunctioned when straps slid out of position. The patient fell about four feet, causing her to suffer a broken back and a head wound. She died several days later.

It has been determined that the staff of this facility failed to take corrective actions after having experienced repeated difficulties concerning a safety catch on the lift. The catch was reportedly known to come loose, thereby endangering the patient in the harness at the time. Moreover, this fatal accident is not an isolated issue but seems to be indicative of a larger problem throughout the system. Minnesota, where this particular death occurred, has had numerous reports of accidents related to improper use and neglected repairs on these types of patient lifts.

Families who turn to a nursing home to help provide the necessary care for their loved ones deserve to know that the staff of these facilities have the residents' best interest as their top priority. When these types of preventable tragedies occur, it only serves to undermine the trust that they most likely seek to earn. Maryland families who have probable cause to suspect that their beloved family member has suffered abuse or neglect while in the care of these nursing facilities have the right to report their suspicions and to file a complaint with their state's regulatory agency. In addition, they may also seek to file a malpractice suit in order to possibly recover monetary damages that their loved ones may have sustained.

Source: startribune.com, "Rochester nursing home at fault in resident's fatal fall from lift", Chris Serres, June 12, 2014

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