Virginia: Patient Falls – a Lawyer’s Falls

Virginia: Patient Falls – a Lawyer’s Falls

Since 2008, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services of the United States Department of Health & Human Service have targeted hospital patient “falls and trauma” as a selected hospital-acquired condition, i.e., a so-called “Never Event,” for which it does not reimburse hospitals. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (“AHRQ”) posts on its Patient Safety Network (“PSNet”) homepage that the “term ‘Never Event’ was first introduced in 2001 by Ken Kizer, M.D., former CEO of the National Quality (“NWF”), in reference to particularly shocking medical errors (such as wrong-site surgery) that should never occur.”

In January, 2013, AHRQ made available its “Preventing Falls in Hospitals: A Toolkit for Improving Quality of Care,” prepared by a healthcare panel from the RAND Corporation, Boston University School for Public Health, and ECRI Institute. However, hospitals and nursing homes have been on notice and educated about patient falls with peer-reviewed nursing and medical literature – and faced medical malpractice lawsuits for their patient falls – since at least the 1980s.

AHRQ’s Toolkit reports: “Each year, somewhere between 700,000 and 1,000,000 people in the United States fall in the hospital.” Id. at 1. Unbeknownst to unsuspecting patients and the general public, major Hampton Roads hospitals typically experience hundreds of in-patient falls every single year, tracking them with detailed statistics in computer databases maintained by their in-house Risk Managers.

A significant minority of in-patient falls result in wrongful deaths or other long-term confining major injuries. Often hospital and nursing home nurses have failed to use the pressure-sensitive “bed alarms” in their inventory – or that even already are a basic feature on virtually all hospital beds.

Mr. Waterman has mediated, settled, tried, and appealed patient fall cases against local hospitals and nursing homes for years. He also handles other medical malpractice, vehicle accident, and various wrongful death, brain injury, and other personal injury cases.

THE VIRGINIA STATE BAR REQUIRES ALL LAWYERS TO POST THE FOLLOWING DISCLAIMERS ON ALL CASE-RELATED POSTS. MR. WATERMAN’S CASE RESULTS AND CLIENT TESTIMONIALS DEPEND UPON A VARIETY OF FACTORS UNIQUE TO EACH CASE. THEY DO NOT GUARANTEE OR PREDICT A SIMILAR RESULT IN ANY FUTURE CASE BY HIM.