Most residents are in nursing homes because they have difficulty in ambulating alongside cognitive decline. Whether it is due to the deterioration of their bodies or some type of dementia, very few nursing home residents could or should be getting up to walk. When they do so unsupervised, it can lead to falls.Most patients need some sort of assistance in getting around due to medical conditions. In most cases, that will require that the staff moves the resident at times. When doing so, they must take care to do so properly. When a nursing home resident is dropped, it can lead to serious injuries such as subdural hematoma, fractures
or even death
.If your loved one has been injured after being dropped by staff or injured due to the improper use of a Hoyer lift, the Nursing Home Law Center can help you attempt to hold the facility that did this legally responsible. A negligent facility can be ordered to compensate the family if they do not decide to settle the case first. A nursing home abuse attorney can help you through this process since it is complex and requires specialized knowledge.When Patient Drop Accidents Can Occur
Nursing home residents will require assistance in changing settings at many different points of their day. From the moment they wake up, the staff will help them get from point to point and must do it safely. Here are some of the common reasons patients will need to be helped:
- Moving from their bed to the wheelchair and vice versa
- Getting into and out of the shower
- Getting on to and off of the toilet
- Improper use of a Hoyer lift or gait belt
- Moving from a wheelchair to a regular chair
Each of these transfers requires skill on the part of the staff doing it. This is part of the training that any staff member must have before they can begin to work at a nursing facility.Many residents’ care plans that are legally required will have procedures that state exactly how the resident is to be moved. Some residents require two staff members to move them to and from their wheelchair whether it is because of the resident’s weight or general frail condition.Other residents may require the use of a Hoyer lift. This is a device that may be a type of sling that lifts a resident or moves them from a sitting to standing position. These devices require specialized training and knowledge to operate. While in the Hoyer lift, residents must be carefully monitored. When used incorrectly, they have the potential to gravely injure residents.Why Nursing Home Residents are Dropped
There are various reasons why residents can be dropped. Nearly all of them result from the negligence of the staff. Here are some of the ways in which staff can be negligent when transferring residents:
- Someone who may not have the proper training is participating in the moving of residents. They may even not have been trained at all or were insufficiently trained.
- One nursing home staff member may be moving a resident on their own when the care plan calls for two staff members.
- Staff may be rushing because they are overburdened and do not have the time to transfer a resident properly.
- The lift that is being used to transfer the resident may be defective or poorly maintained. Alternatively, staff who is not properly trained in using the lift may be attempting to operate it during the transfer.
Dropping patients can lead to a number of different injuries. When a resident falls onto a hard surface, it can have devastating physical consequences such as:
Sample Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit Verdicts & Settlements Involving Dropped Residents
- Bone fractures such as a hip. Oftentimes, a hip fracture can lead to further debilitating injury and can ultimately be the predicate that causes death.
- Neurological or brain damage if the resident hits their head.
- Death, in a worst-case scenario.
- Damage to internal organs or internal bleeding.
Nursing facilities can be sued if your family member has been dropped and suffered an injury. Here are some examples of lawsuits, jury awards and settlements in cases where a resident was dropped or fell during a transfer.Jury award of $1.8 million in Georgia (2018)
- A woman died after being dropped while her bed linens were being changed by a certified nursing assistant. The CNA was attempting to roll the resident in order to change the linens that were under her but used too much force. The woman rolled entirely off the bed and hit her head on the floor. This led to a traumatic brain injury. The woman did not die right away and the jury did not find the facility responsible for the wrongful death but did find the Georgia nurs
ing facility liable for medical expenses and pain and suffering that the resident endured before her death.Lawsuit filed in Virginia (2018)
–The resident was dropped while staff was using a Hoyer lift to transfer her. One CNA was operating the lift as opposed to two. The resident fell during the transfer and suffered compression fractures to her spine. The Virginia facility
did not send her to a hospital and she died eight days later. In the lawsuit, the family has alleged that the Hoyer lift accident was due to the fact that two CNA’s were necessary to move the resident instead of just one.Jury award in Iowa (2018)
– The resident was being transferred in a Hoyer lift. She fell and suffered multiple broken bones and a skull fracture and died from her injuries. The wrongful death lawsuit alleged that the nursing home staff did not operate the lift correctly and fail to ensure that she was safe in the lift while being transferred. This was a case in which it was alleged that the mere fact that a resident fell and suffered grave injuries while being transferred was something that spoke for itself. While the Iowa
facility attempted to shift the blame to the resident, claiming that she fell because she leaned forward during the transfer, the jury found the nursing home liable.Settlement in New York for $175,000 (2018)
– The plaintiff was in the New York nursing home recovering from a total knee replacement. During a transfer, they were dropped. This led to a fracture and an additional surgery that caused the resident additional pain and suffering.Settlement in Massachusetts for $3 million (2017)
– The resident was a quadriplegic and needed extensive help for all transfers. While being transferred using a Hoyer lift, the resident was dropped on his head by home staff and suffered severe injuries including massive head injuries from which he died. The MA nursing home attempted to enforce the arbitration clause in the agreement that the resident’s family had signed when the resident first entered the home, but the court found that it was unconscionable. After that, the nursing home settled the case with the resident’s family.Has Your Loved One Been Injured When Dropped by Staff at a Nursing Home? Get Legal Help Now
The nursing home abuse attorneys at the Nursing Home Law Center can fight for your legal interests in the wake of an injury suffered by your loved one and help you try to obtain financial compensation
. As you can see, nursing facilities will do everything in their power to keep your family from getting their day in court. We will fight vigorously to make sure that your case is both heard and presented in a cogent and detailed manner in a court of law.Call us today at (800) 726-9565 to schedule your free consultation for your nursing home case. Alternatively, you can contact us online to schedule this conversation. Find out how we can help you recover compensation for a family member who has suffered an injury after getting dropped by staff.