Nursing Home Blamed for Resident’s Death after She Falls Out of Wheelchair

Earlier this month in southern Minnesota, an elderly woman died as a result of injuries she sustained when she fell out of her wheelchair in a local nursing home. According to a report by one news source, the woman’s care plan included the use of footrests for her wheelchair. However, at the time of the accident, the footrests were not installed on the chair.

im-still-mobile-1114180-mEvidently, the footrests were lying behind her bed, out of sight of the nursing home staff, and were not installed on the woman’s wheelchair. As she was being pushed to the dining area, the woman’s foot got caught under the chair, and she was thrown from the chair. As she fell off of the wheelchair, she struck her head on the floor, sustaining serious head and neck injuries. Specifically, she suffered a bleeding in the brain, a fractured vertebrae in the neck, and a dislocated and broken shoulder.

After the accident, the woman was admitted to Hospice care, and she passed away two days later. When asked about the oversight, the nursing assistant told the nursing home director one thing and fellow employees another. First, she told the director that the wheelchair footrests didn’t fit on the woman’s chair. However, later she told fellow employees that she forgot to install the footrests.

In response to the fatal accident, the nursing home took several measures to ensure that similar accidents would not happen in the future. First, they retrained the staff on the use of wheelchair footrests. Second, the nursing home administration installed footrests as needed and also installed bags on the back of all wheelchairs to hold footrests.

Admissibility of After-the-Fact Remedial Measures at Trial

As mentioned above, the nursing home took measures after the accident to ensure that a similar accident would not occur in the future. This would seem to indicate the nursing home’s admission that it had provided inadequate training prior to the accident. Therefore, it would also seem to be good evidence to introduce at a trial attempting to establish its liability for negligence.

However, the laws of evidence prevent accident victims from making this type of argument at trial, in fear of discouraging would-be defendants from making much-needed changes to their products or procedures after an accident occurs. To learn more about the laws that permit nursing home residents to recover for the injuries they sustained as a result of negligence or abuse, contact a dedicated Maryland nursing home attorney.

Do You Have a Loved One in a Maryland Nursing Home?

If you have a loved one in a Maryland nursing home, and you believe that they may be being mistreated, neglected, or abused, your loved one may be entitled to monetary compensation based on the negligence of the nursing home facility. The dedicated attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, have decades of experience litigating all kinds of Maryland personal injury cases, including nursing home negligence and nursing home abuse cases. To learn more about how to recover in nursing home cases, call 410-654-3600 to set up a free initial consultation with an attorney today.

See More Blog Posts:

Nursing Home Video Catches Employees Abusing Elderly Patients, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published December 5, 2014.

Elderly Woman Killed in Nursing Home Accident, Family Settles Suit, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published November 13, 2014.

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