Nursing Home Abuse - Bed Rail Injuries

Most nursing homes, long-term care facilities and assisted living facilities have residents who are elderly, infirm or suffering from short-term or long-term injuries or illnesses. Because of the frailty of these residents, the facilities maintain beds with bed rails. The bed rails are intended to be a safe method to prevent falls from bed thus preventing serious injuries and deaths. The idea is to make it safe for residents and prevent falling out of bed or falling when trying to get into bed.

However, in many cases, patients of these facilities may be subject to serious dangers caused by bed rails. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received hundreds of complaints and reports of patients or residents becoming entrapped between a bed rail and a mattress or a bed frame, which often results in suffocation or even death.

As recently as May, 2014, bed rails have been recalled. There were 113,000 bed handles and rails recalled after they were linked to three unfortunate deaths. A consumer-advocacy group known as Public Citizens has called for a ban on bed handles.

Bed rails are found on the sides of beds that are usually made out of metal and sometimes plastic. Naturally the good intention of bed rails is to prevent patients from sliding or slipping or falling out of their beds. Bed rails are important for patients who need assistance getting out of bed or getting into bed by hanging on the rails as they either get in or get out of their beds.

The unfortunate and serious danger of bed rails is that individuals can often be killed when bed rails are not designed or installed safely. A patient or a nursing home resident can accidently become trapped in a bed rail by way of their head, neck or chest. Patients and nursing home residents have been known to be strangled to death because of being caught in a bed rail. The occurrence of nursing home residents being injured or killed in bed rails are usually those who are most afflicted by weakness, illness or age. Sometimes nursing home residents are confused and are unable to maneuver when faced with bed rails.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) more than 36,000 people were taken to emergency departments because of bed rail injuries between the years of 2003 and 2012. One hundred and fifty of those individuals died as a result.

The risk of injury or death using bed rails is many. A patient or a nursing home resident can be caught between rails, between a rail and a mattress, can cause a fall because a patient attempts to climb over a bed rail, can cause serious injury when the bed rails are not correctly matched and connected to the bed frame allowing for a large gap between the mattress and the rail and where the patient may have difficulty getting in or out of the bed because of the obstruction of the bed rail.

The FDA has issued many warnings about the risks of bed rails. Although many injuries are non-fatal, nearly 500 deaths have been related to bed rails for a span of years starting in 1985 through the first part of 2010. Even with these warnings made by the FDA, bed rail injuries and deaths continue to occur in Illinois. These injuries and deaths are preventable.

If you or a loved one has been suffering or has died as a result of a defective bed rail, contact Kreisman Law Offices.

Robert Kreisman of Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Chicago and Illinois nursing home abuse cases for more than 40 years. Kreisman Law Offices has prevailed in trials and settlements in Chicago, Illinois and surrounding communities and has successfully resolved cases for those injured or abused in nursing homes for these many years.

With our years of experience in trying and settling nursing home abuse cases, Kreisman Law Offices provides the best possible services to our clients and have achieved unsurpassed results. Our service is unmatched. Please call us 24 hours a day at 312.346.0045 or toll free 800.583.8002 for a free and immediate consultation, or complete a contact form online.

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