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Bed Rail Deaths

In the American Association for Justice's recent report entitled "Standing Up for Seniors: How the Civil Justice System Protects Elderly Americans," there is a discussion of bed rails and the startling safety hazard they pose to nursing home residents. Many people believe bed rails to be a safety device meant to keep sick, drugged, confused seniors from falling out of beds in hospitals and nursing homes. Though these bed rails are presumably placed on the beds for the safety and security of seniors, the sad reality is that hundreds of seniors have been killed in connection with these bed rails.

Bed rail deaths are often the results of poor design, and nursing home residents are sometimes trapped between or under the rails themselves, or in gaps between the mattress' edges and the bed frame. However, injuries are not only the result of poor design. Many times seniors are injured or killed by bed rails where their use was unnecessary.

In a March 10, 2010 New York Times article entitled "Safe in Bed?" geriatrician and bioethicist Steven Miles of the University of Minnesota, questioned the logic of keeping seniors in beds with rails. He states "Rails decrease your risk of falling by 10 to 15 percent, but they increase the risk of injury by about 20 percent because they change the geometry of the fall." Seniors will try to climb over the bed rails and instead of falling from the lower level and landing on their knees or legs, they are falling farther and more likely to strike their heads.

Though these dangers are well-known to nursing homes, few government regulations exist to stem the problem of bed rail and the ones that do are barely a slap on the wrist for nursing homes. The civil justice system is working to help the problem though. As Steven Miles states "Government sanctions cost a couple of thousand bucks. A lawsuit can cost $500,000 to $1 million; it gets much more attention."

Costly lawsuits get the attention of nursing homes. The result is that lawsuits over poorly designed bed rails and/or the inappropriate use of bed rails have greatly reduced their use. In one case, a 63-year-old Alzheimer's patient named Billie Trew was strangled to death by the restraints on her bed while sleeping. Her family brought the nursing home and the bed manufacturer to court. In the case of Billie Trew, the nursing home agreed to reduce the use of bed rails, and the manufacturer agreed to warn customers about the dangers of entrapment. The result was a 90% reduction in the use of restraints.

Receiving Justice for Bed Rail Injury or Death

Do you think you or a loved one has been the victim of a defective or inappropriately used bed rail? Do you want to know your rights? Want to know what your case is worth? Want compensation? Want justice? Would you like to ensure the same thing doesn't happen to other senior citizens?

If so, call the nursing home abuse law firms of Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys at 800-849-4905. The call is free. The advice may be priceless.

Call the Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys personal injury lawyers in Los Angeles for a free professional evaluation of your rights by attorneys who have been representing victims of medical malpractice and senior abuse since 1978. You will experience award winning representation and outstanding personal service by a compassionate and understanding law firm in a comfortable environment.


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Look for These
Signs of Neglect:

  • Broken or fractured bones
  • Head injuries
  • Open wounds, cuts, punctures, untreated injuries in various stages of healing
  • Broken eyeglasses, dentures, hearing aids
  • Signs of punishment or physical restraint
  • Your loved one tells you they have been mistreated
  • A sudden change in behavior
  • The nursing home refuses to allow unsupervised visits
  • If your loved one exhibits any of the above signs, know your rights and contact an attorney today.

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Disclaimer: The legal information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor the formation of an attorney-client relationship. Any results set forth here were dependent on the facts of that case and the results will differ from case to case. Bisnar Chase serves all of California. In addition, we represent clients in various other states through our affiliations with local law firms. Through the local firm we will be admitted to practice law in their state, pro hac vice.

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