This case involves an elderly man with severe arthritis and dementia who fell in a hospital. The man was living in a nursing home and had been designated as a fall-risk patient by the facility. The man was rushed to the hospital one night after experiencing difficulty breathing. While the patient was in the hospital, he was left unattended for a significant period of time and was later discovered unconscious on the floor next to his bed. An expert in fall risk prevention was sought to determine whether any protocols or industry standards were violated in this case and evaluate whether the plaintiff could have had a better outcome with a different protocol.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Are you able to advise on best preventative practices for fall-risk patients? Please explain.
- 2. Have you ever had a patient develop the outcome described in the case? If so, please explain.
Expert Witness Response E-016654
This case is right in my area of expertise. I have 35 years experience in all settings as a practicing geriatric clinician. I am a board-certified geriatric clinical specialist with experience in skilled nursing facilities, home care settings, hospital settings, and outpatient settings. I have had patients who are at high risk for falls who have subsequently suffered serious falls. I am able to speak about best practices, evaluate the patient’s fall risk from medical documentation, and describe prevention strategies in this case. Evaluating extrinsic and intrinsic factors for fall risk is my area of specialty, and I have authored both my doctoral dissertation and a white paper funded by the CDC on this topic. Currently, I am a faculty member at a major institution and teach a course on comprehensive fall prevention. I was a lead researcher for a multi-year project for the Center for Disease Control and Injury Prevention regarding fall prevention best practices.