Most community members appreciate that certain products can be dangerous. We have all heard stories of major recalls involving many different things, from cars and trucks to children’s toys and cleaning products. However, even though we know products can be defective or dangerous, we still use them, because it is simply impossible to know for certain whether any indiviual product is defective. We have to rely on the standards of those making the items and the regulators tasked with ensuring overly dangerous materials are kept out of the stream of commerce.
Sadly, the product liability attorneys at our firm know that even with safety standards in place, dangerous products still make it to the market and affect communty members nearly every day. A large part of the work of legal professionals in this field invovles helping those hurt by those products that slip through the cracks, and working to ensure systematically harmful products are no longer available to hurt unsuspecting residents.
The Dangers of Bed Rails in Nursing Homes
For example, the latest newsletter from Biomedical Safety & Standards delved into one product that elder care advocates have continually pointed to being extremely dangerous: bed rails. On one hand, it is easy to understand how these products continue to be used–they are supposed to be a safety item themselves. But therein lies the problem. Not only do bed rails do little to keep residents safe from falling off a bed, they actually pose very serious risks of entrpament and aspyhixiation. It is absolutely critical that all those working with vulnerable indiviuals in nursing homes and hospitals be aware of these risks and act prudently to prevent serious harm.
For example, according to the newsletter, in 2011 the consumer rights advocacy group Public Citizen and the Consumer Voice made calls to the Federal Trade Commission to require marketing changes and even product recalls on certain bed rails. Those who care about the well-being of seniors in nursing homes long ago discovered after examining the issue that far from making residents safer, this rails often lead to strangulation and other horrors. We must act prudently to educate families about these dangers and minimize the risk.
The most potent danger presented by bed rails is likely entrapment, when an individual rolls and is caught between the rail and the matress and bedding. Of course many seniors in nursing homes and medical patients in hosptial have severe mobility problems. While someone at their full strength would be able to get out of the sitaution, entrapment in a bed rail to a vulnerable patient can literally be life-threatening. According to the newsletter, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has well over 525 reports of bed rail death. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has identified at least 125 fatal incidents. And these represents only the tregedies reported to these government agencies, many more have likely occurred without report.
The elder care lawyers at our firm remind all local families and caregivers of the dangers of these bed rails. Please be wary of the harm that they cause and the risks they pose to vulnerable individuals using them. If someone you know is ever harmed in a bed rail incident, be sure to contact our office to see how we can help.
See Our Related Blog Posts:
The Reality of Nursing Home Falls