Hospital Failure to Prevent Fall Results in State Fine

Tri-City Hospital in Oceanside was fined $25,000 by the California Department of Public Health for “failure to ensure the health and safety of a patient” who fell out of bed and fractured her hip. The hospital has modified its policies as a result.

According to reports, a 91-year-old woman who was admitted to Tri-City on December 7, 2008 because of a stroke, and paralysis on her right side, fell out of bed two days later and fractured her hip. She was taken to surgery for repair of the hip, and died the following day in the ICU.

The state investigation revealed that upon admission to the hospital the woman was rated as a high risk for falls; a rating that would require a series of interventions such as bed alarms, padding on the floor around the bed, etc. The investigation revealed that “there was no evidence in the medical record to support that these interventions were in place at the time (the patient) fell.

Tri-City has denied any wrong doing, and has submitted a “plan of correction,” which has been accepted by the DPH.

Falls are a serious problem in many hospitals and nursing homes, and are the basis for many legal claims of malpractice and neglect. At this firm, we have prosecuted many nursing homes for injury-causing falls that, we alleged, should have been prevented.

Ten other hospitals in the state also received $25,000 fines, including: Sharp Chula Vista, Chula Vista; Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Berkeley; Coast Plaza Doctor’s Hospital, Norwalk; Kindred Hospital, Ontario; Loma Linda University Medical Center, Loma Linda; Los Angeles County Hospital, Los Angeles; Mendocino Coast District Hospital, Fort Bragg; Redwood Memorial Hospital, Fortuna; Saint John’s Hospital and Health Center, Santa Monica; USC University Hospital, Los Angeles.

Source: North County Times

The San Diego elder abuse and neglect lawyers at the Walton Law Firm represent individuals and families who have impacted by malpractice, abuse, or neglect in the hospital, nursing home, or residential care setting. For a free and confidential consultation call (760) 607-1325.