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Failure to assess a fall risk can lead to medical malpractice

As people age physical capacities may diminish. Following a serious ailment, such as a stroke, further physical abilities may change or disappear. People in nursing homes in Ohio rely on a doctor's review of the situation to ensure that proper care is given and one of the greatest dangers to people in nursing homes or in a hospital is the risk of a fall. Evaluating a patient's risk for falls is a critical component to helping to ensure that the patient receives adequate care. Failure to appropriately assess this risk can result in a medical malpractice suit.

A patient in a nursing home had suffered a stroke and required a wheelchair. He did have the ability to transfer himself from the chair to the toilet and back again with assistance. The patient was left alone by a nursing home staff person one day while on the toilet. He fell while attempting to transfer himself from the toilet to his wheelchair. The fall resulted in a broken hip that was not promptly diagnosed.

The doctor ordered an X-ray that showed negative for a fracture. He did not further examine the patient in spite of the patient's repeated complaints of severe pain in his hip. By the time an examination was carried out and the fracture discovered, the option of a hip replacement was no longer available due to the damage caused by the untreated fracture. The patient was unable to regain the ability to transfer himself from his wheelchair. The resulting lawsuit against the doctor returned an award of $636,000 in damages for medical expenses and pain and suffering.

Anyone in Ohio who has suffered due to apparent negligence on the part of a doctor or nursing home staff should consult with a personal injury attorney. A lawyer can advise the client as to whether or not a medical malpractice suit is a viable option. Though no one can undo what has already occurred, a civil suit may provide compensation for medical costs, pain and suffering and other verifiable losses.

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