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Patient dies after falling off table during procedure

Illinois residents who are admitted to a hospital to undergo medical procedures have certain expectations with respect to the type of care they will receive. Any medical procedure is accompanied by risks and potential complications. In addition to these risks, there are a number of other safety concerns that, if breached, may cause a patient to suffer harm, injury or even death.

Patients often have concerns about the risks associated with an actual procedure as well those associated with being under general anesthesia. Few, however, likely consider risks associated with hospital-borne infections, falls or medication errors. For one woman, errors committed by two members of a medical team while attempting to move her proved to be fatal.

Standing at just 5 feet tall and weighing roughly 200 pounds, the diabetic woman sought medical care related to foot pain she was suffering. Doctors recommended the woman undergo an angioplasty procedure to help improve blood flow to her lower extremities. The procedure was performed by two radiologic technicians. While attempting to turn the woman on her side during the procedure, the woman slipped off of the operating table and hit her head on the floor.

The fall resulted in the woman developing a blood clot in her brain which had grown to 18 millimeters the day after the fall occurred. She subsequently died from complications related to the fall injury and blood clot. The hospital at which the procedure was performed was recently fined $75,000 for safety violations related to the fall accident.

It’s possible the woman’s family may also choose to take legal action against the hospital in the form of a medical malpractice or wrongful death lawsuit. In cases where a hospital is negligent in failing to follow safety protocols, a medical malpractice lawsuit can help bring about changes in policy to help ensure other families are spared from experiencing a similar tragedy.

Source: Huntington Beach Independent, “F.V. hospital fined for patient safety violation,” Anthony Clark Carpio, Feb. 3, 2014


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