Hospital Fall Caused Elderly Client’s Death

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After falling at home and fracturing his right hip, ​our 83-year-old client was admitted to a Louisville, Kentucky hospital. The fracture required a hip replacement, which was performed at Norton Audubon Hospital with no complications.

Prior to fracturing his hip, our client was very active for his age, walking every day and still mowing his own yard. Following his hip surgery he spent seven days in Audubon and was then discharged to Franciscan Rehab. While at Franciscan, his wound from the hip replacement surgery started showing signs of infection, and required him to be admitted to the emergency department of a Louisville, Kentucky hospital. Upon readmission, the nurses noted in his care plan that he was “at risk for injury” and that “fall precautions” should be taken.  

Fall Precautions Were Not Followed

​Shortly after being admitted to the hospital, an EMS crew found our client on the floor and reported the fall to the nursing station. He was sent to x-ray where it was discovered he had sustained a non-displaced fracture below the hardware from his hip replacement surgery. Furthermore, he started showing signs of confusion after his fall. The family was concerned that he hit his head during the fall and requested a CT.

Hospital staff informed the family that our client’s bed rails were left down and no bed alarms were set despite the fact that he was a marked as a patient at risk for falling. It is noted that the nursing staff could not get the “bed alarm to stay on” the same day that he fell. On the morning of his fall, our client scored a 65 on the Morse Fall Risk Assessment, which calls for the implementation of high-risk fall prevention interventions. 

The Hospital’s Discharge Summary

​With the exception of the discharge summary, our team of medical investigators were unable to find any documentation of the fall in the nurses’ notes. We argued that this demonstrated a reckless unawareness of our client’s condition in the hospital. As evidence of the injury from the fall, our medical experts showed where x-ray studies showed a “non-displaced fracture of the femoral diaphysis at the tip of the stem of the prosthesis.”  

Our client remained at the hospital for several days following the fall until being discharged. The discharge summary noted “the patient fell out of bed,” and went on to state “after the incident there was a notable decline in the patient’s mental and physical status.” It was also noted that after the fall, the “patient has developed issues with nutrition and further worsening in his mental status, ultimately requiring placement of PEG.”  

​Following his discharge, our client was sent to Klondike Care and Rehabilitation Center.  He returned to the hospital three days later due to an elevated white blood count and passed away shortly thereafter. His death certificate states that he died from sepsis syndrome, toxic encephalopathy, and infection of the right prosthetic hip joint.

Our Legal Team Proved His Death Was a Result of the Hospital Fall

Gray & White was able to put on a compelling case to prove that he died as a result of the fall in the hospital that injured his hip. Our team of medical experts demonstrated that there is a direct correlation between increased risk of death and shortened life expectancy from falls in the elderly. The case resolved shortly after we demonstrated our evidence.