Hospital Faces Lawsuit From Family Of Patient Who Suffered Fatal Injuries In Preventable Fall At Hospital
Near the main entrance of a hospital, you often see staff members bringing patients who have recently been discharged from the hospital down to the lobby in wheelchairs, only for the patients to walk across the lobby to their family members’ cars without assistance. The rationale is that even patients who are healthy enough to be discharged are still at an elevated risk of suffering an accidental fall. Falls are a leading cause of accidental injury in hospitalized patients. The resulting injuries can be very severe, and in some cases, they can even be fatal. Part of the reason for this is that hospitalized patients are already in a vulnerable state of health, or else they would not be in the hospital. Another reason is that the floors of hospitals are harder than most indoor surfaces. You would probably get worse injuries from falling on a hospital floor than you would on the carpet, wood, or linoleum floor in your house. The standard of care requires hospital staff to protect patients from accidental falls, such as by providing assistance to patients when walking or by transporting patients by wheelchair or stretcher when appropriate. If you suffered serious injuries in an accidental fall in a hospital, contact a Columbia medical malpractice lawyer.
Hospital Staff Failed to Stabilize Vulnerable Patient During Chest X-Ray
In June 2021, Elizabeth McCullar went to Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) hospital for ultrasound-guided thoracentesis, a procedure to remove fluid from the chest cavity. The procedure is performed with local anesthesia, and patients are awake, but some patients feel light-headed after the procedure because of low blood pressure. The procedure has been successfully performed since the 1850s, but pneumothorax, the buildup of air outside the lungs in the chest cavity, is a possible serious complication, so the standard of care requires doctors to perform a chest X-ray after the procedure to check for this complication.
After the thoracentesis, McCullar was sitting on an exam table, about to have a chest X-ray, when she fell and hit her head, shoulder, and arm on the floor. She died two weeks later, from complications of the injuries she sustained in the fall.
In 2022, McCullar’s husband Julius McCullar sued MUSC for medical malpractice. In the lawsuit, he claims that the hospital staff should have helped stabilize Elizabeth during the chest X-ray. They could have done this by installing handrails on the exam table where the X-rays are performed. Another way to prevent the fall would have been to have hospital staff members assist the patient until she returned to her hospital bed after the chest X-ray.
Let Us Help You Today
The medical malpractice lawyers at the Stanley Law Group can help you if you were injured in an accidental fall at a hospital, where employees are supposed to take precautions to protect patients from such accidents. Contact The Stanley Law Group in Columbia, South Carolina or call (803)799-4700 for a free initial consultation.