Birmingham AL Bedrail Injury Lawyer
When you visit your loved one in a hospital or nursing home, you may initially welcome the sight of a bedrail, which are intended to prevent falls. However, bedrails can often be dangerous and lead to fatal injuries. Government agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), have even voiced concern about the safety of bedrails. Despite this, there are still very few regulations that keep elderly patients safe from injury in nursing homes and hospitals.
If your loved one was injured in a nursing home, you probably have a lot of questions. Below, Petro Law Firm discusses what you need to know about bedrail injuries. For more information about how you can protect your vulnerable loved ones, speak to a Birmingham bedrail injury lawyer today.
Why Are Bedrails So Dangerous?
Bedrails are typically a series of metal bars that hang on the side of a hospital bed. Nursing homes and hospitals use them to prevent patients from rolling out of bed. They also serve as a support when a patient is repositioning themselves or attempting to enter or exit the bed. When it comes to these basic functions, bedrails can be relatively effective.
However, they also pose a serious suffocation risk, especially when there is space between the bedrail and the mattress. When a patient with limited mobility becomes wedged between a bedrail and the mattress, they may lack the strength to free themselves and may be unable to call for help. As their body weight sinks them further down into the gap, it can be difficult to breathe. Roughly half of the FDA’s reported bedrail injuries were fatal, and most were due to asphyxiation (suffocation) or cardiac arrest.
Other bedrail injuries occur when a patient tries to get over their rail and out of bed. If they fall, it’s not uncommon for the patient to suffer broken bones and other serious injuries.
Are All Bedrails Unsafe?
Most bedrail manufacturers take extreme care when they design and build hospital bed and bedrail systems. When a bedrail is installed on the correct type of hospital bed and used with the correct mattress, they are relatively safe.
However, as nursing homes move, disassemble, or replace their hospital beds and mattresses, things can get switched around. If they’re not paying close attention, they may mix products together — creating dangerous gaps between the rail and the mattress.
How Do I Identify a Bedrail Injury?
Unfortunately, bedrail injuries are underreported. If your loved one required emergency medical care due to falling, having problems breathing, or getting wedged between a mattress, you should consult with an experienced Birmingham AL bedrail injury lawyer. You may discover that your loved one’s injuries were caused by an improperly installed bedrail or nursing home neglect.
Can Bedrail Injuries Be Prevented?
While you can’t prevent nursing home neglect and every bedrail injury, there are some simple ways you can advocate for your loved one’s safety. First, when you visit your loved one, inspect their bed. Take the mattress and push it as far away from the bedrail as possible. If you can place four fingers between the bedrail and the mattress, there is a suffocation risk.
Next, report the issue immediately to the nursing home. If they do not resolve the issue immediately, contact a Birmingham AL bedrail injury lawyer for help.
Finally, if you are buying a bedrail system for your home, be very cautious. Rather than buy one second-hand, consult with a reputable medical good provider — if your mattress does not fit with the rail system, you are putting you or your loved one at risk.
What Should I Do Upon Discovering a Bedrail Injury?
If your loved one suffered a serious or fatal injury because of bedrails, speak to a nursing home abuse lawyer at Petro Law Firm. While all nursing home neglect claims require a careful investigation, this is especially true for bedrail injuries. Because these incidents are underreported, your bedrail injury lawyer (or their experts) will need to inspect your loved one’s hospital bed, document its dangers, and interview witnesses. Because nursing staff frequently turns over and employees are sometimes hesitant to report bedrail injuries, your attorney will need to act quickly to preserve your loved one’s evidence.
If nursing home neglect played a role in your loved one’s injuries, your bedrail injury lawyer may be able to recover compensation for their:
- medical bills,
- pain and suffering, and
- other damages.
However, every case is different. It’s in your best interest to consult with an attorney before filing a nursing home abuse or neglect claim.
Request a Consultation With a Birmingham AL Bedrail Injury Lawyer
If you have concerns about nursing home neglect or the safety of your loved one’s hospital bed, contact a Birmingham AL bedrail injury lawyer at Petro Law Firm today. Our seasoned legal team will listen to you, evaluate your claim, and help you understand your legal options. We are readily available to answer your questions and look forward to speaking with you.