An elderly female patient was admitted to the rehabilitation and welfare center on January 28, 2016. She was documented to be a high-risk patient, who had a history of falls. The patient also suffered from previous fractures of the spine, prior kyphoplasty, obesity, hypoventilation syndrome, asthma, and osteoporosis.
Four months later, on April 15, 2016, the facility failed to assist her safety needs which were required and permitted her to fall during a transfer from her wheelchair to bed. As a direct result of the fall, the resident suffered an open fracture of her right angle and to three ribs. After the first recorded fall on January 29, 2016, the patient was referred to physical therapy due to a new onset reduction in strength, and mobility. The facility’s physician indicated that the female patient required assistance by two nursing home staff for almost all daily activities, including transfers, walking, and bathing. The staff relayed to concerned family members that due to understaffing and limited nurses available they were unable to meet the required two staff assisted transfers of the patient.
A second fall was recorded on April 15, 2016, while the patient was again being moved by only one certified nursing assistant. Before the fall occurred, the nursing home staff member had asked for assistance, but no help arrived. The elderly patient’s knees buckled during the solo transfer and she then fell to the floor. At that time, she was recorded in having bleeding from her right ankle. She was then transferred to the hospital for diagnosis and treatment, At the hospital, she was diagnosed with a bimalleolar fracture consisting of a displaced fracture of the distal fibula, a comminuted fracture of the distal tibia, and a soft tissue defect along the lateral ankle. A CT scan also revealed fractures of three ribs.
In May 2016, the female patient sustained an open word from penetration of the skin by the fractured right ankle bone. The wound appeared to be infected and was administered antibiotics to treat the infection. As a result of the incident, the patient suffered significant pain, stating that she had thoughts of wanting to die, because of it.
As a result, the family contacted us to pursue claims against the nursing home facility for failing to provide proper supervision, transfer, and care to prevent her from falling and suffering injuries. We were able to obtain a settlement award for the patient and their family.