As a medical malpractice lawyer, I have learned that a hospital can be a dangerous place. When patients are neglected by busy hospital staff, serious injuries can happen. That was the case of Ms. P, a 75-year-old patient who was admitted to the hospital for treatment of pneumonia and pleuritic chest pain. On the second day of her admission, she suffered a serious fall onto the hard floor of her hospital room.
Several nurses had been in and out of her room that day, trying to establish an IV line needle, as ordered by Ms. P’s physician. While doing this, the nursing staff had elevated Ms. P’s bed to the examination position to assist in their efforts to establish a line. After several unsuccessful attempts, the IV needle was finally properly inserted. At that point, the nursing staff left Ms. P unattended, with the side rails down and the bed remaining in an elevated position. In her empty room, Ms. P, who had been in her bed for quite some time during this process, had an urgent need to use the toilet in her room. She attempted to get out of her bed. She was not prepared to leave the bed at an elevated level. As a result, Ms. P fell from the bed and the full weight of the right side of her body collided with the hard hospital floor.
As a result of the fall, Ms. P suffered a fractured wrist: the bones were smashed and there were numerous bone fragments. An orthopedic surgeon performed immediate surgery. Ms. P also suffered a fracture in her pelvis. Unfortunately, this could not be corrected by surgery. Ms. P remained in a rehab hospital for several months while her injuries healed.
Due to her age, my client had no desire to be engaged in a long and arduous court battle. So I reached out to the hospital and provided them with a demand for settlement. To my surprise, the hospital agreed to resolve the case without a lawsuit. This is a rare situation. Usually, no matter how bad the negligence is, the defense will drag us through the expense of a lawsuit. But in this case, we were able to achieve a good settlement for Ms. P without having to file a lawsuit. Because we did not have to hire expensive experts, Ms. P was able to maximize her recovery from her confidential settlement.