Woman is Seriously Injured After Falling From Gurney


Emergency Medical Services Expert WitnessThis case involves a female patient being transported by EMS out of her home on a gurney. She was dropped onto the ground from the gurney while being transported from the house to the ambulance, causing a cervical fracture. The attorney handling the case required an EMS expert to provide an opinion on the standard of care while transferring a patient.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Are you available to review the case and provide an opinion on standard of care?
  • 2. What are the necessary precautions needed while transferring a patient on a gurney to avoid falls?

Expert Witness Response E-089419

My initial opinion is that the standard of care was not met, however, I will need more information in order to provide specific points of inadequate care. There are variables to consider when moving a patient for transport such as medical urgency of the patient, was the appropriate transfer device utilized for the situation (stair chair, wheeled gurney, or portable device), weight of patient, and was the device used appropriate, was the patient secured to the gurney. The condition of the residence and obstacles (rickety stairs/steps, number of floors/stairs to maneuver, number of available personnel on scene to assist). There is no simple cut and dry “one size fits all” approach, but there are prescribed methods based on the various scenarios. I have over the past 20 years provided case reviews, depositions, court testimony and consulting.

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