After surviving a stroke, Bill Owens completed inpatient rehabilitation and was released with instructions to begin physical therapy at his home. After determining that in-home therapy would not be effective enough for Mr. Owens, he was referred to Carl Erskine Rehabilitation Center in Anderson, Indiana. The rehab facility is owned and operated by St. Vincent Regional Hospital.
Mr. Owens, a documented fall risk, relied on a walker and notified his physical therapist that he had recently fallen twice. The therapist noted that Mr. Owens seemed weaker and shakier as a result of his falls. The next day, Mr. Owens was asked to walk unassisted from the waiting room to the therapy room at rehab. While attempting to walk, Mr. Owens fell and hit his head, striking the ground with such force that he suffered a subdural hematoma, a form of traumatic brain injury that is life threatening if not immediately and appropriately treated.
A Life Forever Changed
Thankfully Mr. Owens survived the tragic fall, but traumatic brain injuries are labeled as such for a reason. Mr. Owens now suffers from memory-loss and requires assistance with seemingly simple everyday tasks such as sitting down, taking a shower, and using the bathroom. Mr. Owens is unable to stand and requires around the clock care in a nursing home facility in Noblesville, Indiana.
Mr. Owens managed to survive a stroke and was expected to make great gains by completing physical therapy. Tragically, he fell in the very place that he believed would help him recover. A Madison County, Indiana jury awarded Mr. Owens $2.5 million for the hospital’s negligence, finding that while Mr. Owens was a documented fall risk, therapists did not communicate changes in his status after his self-reported falls.
Falls in Rehab Facilities and Nursing Homes Due to Negligence
Levin & Perconti has successfully recovered millions for those who have suffered falls while in physical therapy and in nursing homes. In February, our attorneys Michael Bonamarte & Cari Silverman secured a $552,000 jury verdict for an ankle fracture sustained from a fall in physical therapy. Alden Estates of Orland Park, in conjunction with Community Physical Therapy and Associates, failed to do a thorough examination of Mr. Timothy Maloney before beginning his treatment. As a result of this, they missed that he had an underlying condition that caused his knees to buckle, forcing him off balance and resulting in falls. The condition would’ve required Mr. Maloney to work with two therapists at a time, a treatment plan that he never received as the condition was entirely overlooked.
One may think that receiving therapy in nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities means taking the occasional tumble. If residents and patients are there to regain strength, mobility, and improve their walking capabilities, it would be logical to assume that a fall might happen from time to time. They do, in fact, happen, but they shouldn’t. While some falls are unavoidable, nursing home residents and physical therapy patients should have their conditions properly documented and a treatment or care plan should be in place that allows for enough staff to be present to avoid falls.
If someone you love has suffered injuries from a fall during physical therapy or physical rehabilitation, or has sustained injuries from a fall in a nursing home, please contact our Chicago injury attorneys for a free, confidential consultation to see how we can help.
Please note: This post can also be found on our Illinois Injury Lawyer blog.