June 27, 2017, PNLR E-Newsletter

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Failure to use bedrails

hospital bed

Suit against a hospital alleged that a patient suffered a broken hip in a fall from her bed because staff failed to use all four of the bedrails on her bed, maintain enough lighting in her room, and assist her in getting to the bathroom. The jury awarded $909,000. Harrison v. West Boca Med. Ctr.
 

Dolores Moore, 80, was admitted to a hospital for treatment of a sodium deficiency. One night, a patient care technician woke Moore to check her vital signs and then left the darkened room. Moore, who wanted to go to the bathroom, reached over to press her call button and fell out of bed. She suffered a fractured left hip, which necessitated surgery and a 48-day stay at a nursing facility. She now has limited ability to walk and requires 24-hour care.

Moore’s attorney-in-fact sued the hospital, alleging that its staff failed to use all four of the bedrails attached to Moore’s bed, maintain enough lighting in her room, and take her to the bathroom following her vital signs check.

The jury awarded $909,000. The court later added attorney fees and costs.

Citation: Harrison v. West Boca Med. Ctr., No. 2016-CA-009017 (Fla. Cir. Ct. Palm Beach Cnty. Mar. 31, 2017).

Plaintiff counsel: AAJ members Scott M. Fischer and Robert E. Gordon, both of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Plaintiff experts: Jonathan Hersch, orthopedic surgery, Boca Raton, Fla.; and Charlotte Sheppard, nursing, Tampa.

Defense experts: Linda Lockshin, nursing, and Dominic Maggio, geriatrics, both of Miami.