This case involves an elderly man in Tennessee who suffered injuries after being lifted up improperly. The man had been bedridden for an extended period of time due to a degenerative nervous system condition. The man was to be transferred into a wheelchair for transportation to another part of the hospital. Two nurses then attempted to move him by pulling on his arms, causing the man to scream in pain. Nevertheless, the nurses continued their attempts to lift the man, eventually dropping him on the floor and causing a serious arm injury.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Please explain your background in the nursing field and particular knowledge of proper lifting elderly patients?
- 2. What kind of injuries and complications can arise from lifting patient from arms?
Expert Witness Response E-007135
I am a professor of nursing in the classroom, laboratory, and clinical setting. I teach proper body mechanics to my nursing students to prevent patient and self injury. The patient and nurse can be injured if the patient is lifted by the arms. The patient could be dropped or the arm(s) may be dislocated. This is also not proper body mechanics for the nurse, as lifting requires use of the legs when lifting up the patient to avoid back injury by the nurse. If the patient is frail, obese, or has poor bone integrity, a fracture may occur if lifted by the arms. I am familiar with the teaching related to lifting and proper body mechanics provided to nursing students. This is the same technique followed by nursing assistants.
Expert Witness Response E-000911
I am an RN with 30-plus years of multi-specialty and multi-practice area background including critical care, medical surgical nursing, home health, geriatrics, and medical case management. I have educated aides, medical assistants and nurses in regards to proper patient handling. I was the office manager for an internal medicine practice for 20 years. More recently, I was the supervisor in a sub-acute rehab where we had patients with MS as well as orthopedic injuries. Currently I practice as a case manager in a major university hospital in the Emergency Trauma Department working closely with physicians to determine admission criteria and discharge management for patients in the ETD. The injuries of this case involve basic knowledge and practice skills that every healthcare worker is trained in to protect the patient and themselves from work related injuries. Musculoskeletal injuries: strains, dislocations, fractures, sprains can occur as well as nerve damage from using improper transfer techniques. I am familiar with the various methods of transferring patients using proper body mechanics to protect the patient and the healthcare worker. Standards of care include those from OSHA, the CDC on safe patient handling and JACHO.