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The oversight of a basic safeguard has been attributed to the death of an 84-year-old nursing home patient who fell from a mechanical lift being used by staff to move her.
An investigation into the incident by the Minnesota Department of Health concluded that two CNA’s at the facility identified as Devine Providence Health Canter failed to properly utilize the straps on the lift intended to keep patients safely in place. While the elderly patient was being moved, she fell head-first from several feet.
After receiving medical attention, the woman’s condition continued to deteriorate and she died several weeks later.
Mechanical Lifts In Nursing Homes & Hospitals
Mechanical lifts are considered basic medical equipment at many nursing homes and hospitals and are regularly utilized by staff to move physically disabled patients into and out of bed or wheelchairs. When used correctly, mechanical lifts are considered a far more safe method of moving patients compared with staff moving patients on their own.
Safe operation of mechanical lifts requires that facilities make an investment in training their staff on how to use the equipment and that facilities take steps to keep the machines in good working order. Inattention to either of these areas can result in patient injury— or as we can see from the above situation, even death.
Given that medical facilities have a responsibility to care for patients– regardless of their physical or mental limitations— mechanical lift injuries fall squarely on the shoulders of the facility where the incident occurred. Any patient who suffered an injury during a mechanical lifting procedure should be mindful of the fact that the negligence of the facility and its staff is likely to blame for their circumstance and they are likely entitled to pursue a claim for damages against them.
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