Last week the Star-Telegram released a helpful new article that reiterates the potential danger of bed rails.
Bed Rail Deaths
The article points to several different incidents to hammer home the point that real lives are lost because of these products. For example, the story of an 81-year old woman was shared. Suffering from dementia, her family had rails installed on her bed under the assumption that they were keeping her safe. However, only a few weeks after adding them, the senior’s neck became caught in the rails. She was not found in time, and she suffocated to death.
As blog readers know, these sorts of accident strike frequently. The article explains how “thousands of frail, confused or elderly people have been injured and hundreds killed after becoming trapped in safety rails installed to keep them from falling out of bed.”
The best reports suggest that in recent years over 37,000 people have been hospitalized as a result of bed rail accidents with hundreds more killed as a result. Reports made to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration suggest that of the hundreds who die in these accidents, the vast majority are frail elderly community members. Individuals suffering from cognitive challenges, like dementia and Alzheimer’s are particularly at risk. These seniors are often confused about their surrounding and unable to efficiently communicate with caregivers when they are in danger.
Our elder neglect attorney Steve Levin was interviewed for the story. He explained, ““It’s a horrible, tragic, painful, scary way to die, and it’s just so unnecessary,” Steve went on to point out that it requires vigilance on the part of family members to ensure there is accountability for these accidents in the senior home setting, explaining, “If an elderly resident dies in bed it would not be difficult for a nursing home to attribute the cause of death to whatever medical conditions brought them to the nursing home,”
Particularly disturbing is the fact that, even though the dangers have been known for years, next to nothing has been done by policymakers to prevent future harm. One bed rail safety advocate confessed, “That is amazing to me that you can have a product in a medical supply store and no one has verified is this safe.’
For those of us who work daily on elder abuse and neglect issues, discussing the harm faced by seniors as a result of bed rails is beating a dead horse. Everyone knows about these dangers, right? Think again. Many community members remain uninformed about the problem. That is why each of these news stories is a positive step, slowly leading more and more residents to support policy changes. Eventually we can reach the point where no one, from children to seniors, are hurt or killed as a result of these dangerous products.
If you or someone you know was harmed by a bed rail, please get in touch with our injury lawyers today to see how we can help. Negligence is often at the root of these incidents, particularly when the injured person was in a hospital or nursing home at the time.
See Other Blog Posts:
Consumer Voice Testimony on Bed Rail Safety