Hospitals across the country assess patients when they arrive. Some patients are considered high-risk because of factors like age, medications and existing health conditions. Patients in Maryland that are put in a high-risk category can usually expect special attention and care from medical staff to accommodate their needs. Recently, a high-risk patient in another state experienced a worsened medical condition and ultimately lost his life due to his falling while in the hospital's care. His daughter is now suing the hospital.
On August 5, 2013, a 91-year-old man was in a car accident and was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment of his injuries. Because he had blood clots and minor internal bleeding near his brain, he was transferred to the intensive care unit of another hospital. According to the lawsuit, during the transfer, he was alert and joking with staff. His CT scan the following morning confirmed that his injuries incurred by the car accident were stable, and he was transferred from the intensive care unit.
Soon after he was transferred, the man suffered two falls in two days, resulting in multiple injuries, including cuts on his arms and one eyelid and a 4-centimeter cut above his eye. A CT scan also showed new areas of internal brain bleeding, according to the suit. Three and a half weeks after the initial car accident, on August 29, the man passed away in hospice.
Hospital falls can have detrimental impact to patients, and efforts are in place to help fall prevention. In a case such as this, nurses and nurses aids have an obligation to high-risk patients to ensure the patient is safe. In Maryland, if malpractice is suspected in a patient's worsened medical condition or even death, the patient or his or her family has the right to pursue a lawsuit.