Adult portable bedrails – those devices installed on beds to prevent adults from falling out of bed – are designed to keep patients safe. Unfortunately, there have been several reported cases of deaths and injuries linked to the use of adult portable bedrails.
This New York Times article explains that, according to Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) data, there were 155 deaths involving bedrails between January 2003 and September 2012, with the vast majority of those deaths (126 deaths) involving patients who were age 60 or older. Most bedrails deaths (61%) occurred at home, with about a quarter occurring at a nursing home or an assisted living facility.
The CPSC also found that nearly half of the people who died as a result of a bedrail accident had medical problems, such as dementia, heart disease, or Parkinson’s disease. The most common cause of death was entrapment between the bed rails, commonly the head or neck getting caught in the bedrail.
Nearly 37,000 injuries that required emergency room visits were also reported in connection with bedrail accidents between 2003 through 2011. Nursing home fall injuries are the leading cause of preventable emergency room visits for nursing home residents. According to the Nursing Home Abuse Center, approximately 1,800 deaths of nursing home residents each year can be attributed to fall-related injuries and adults 65 and older are four times more likely to die of fall-related injuries if they live in a nursing home.
Consumer safety advocates are using the CPSC report to support their efforts to urge federal officials to improve oversight authority over bedrails. Jurisdictional questions are one of the reasons that bedrails may be lacking in terms of safety since there are questions about whether the CPSC or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration maintains oversight authority over bedrails. Additionally, consumer safety advocates site a number of technical questions about which bedrails are medical devices and which bedrails are consumer products since the safety requirements vary for each category.
At Ankin Law Offices, LLC, our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers are committed to promoting patient and consumer safety. We are focus on protecting the rights of patients who are injured or killed as a result of medical malpractice or nursing home abuse. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed as a result of a bedrail or other medical/safety equipment, do not hesitate to contact our office at (312) 600-0000 to schedule a free consultation with one of our compassionate Chicago nursing home abuse attorneys.