Suit blames rehab center for allowing man to fall from bed

David Yates Feb. 20, 2008, 7:10am

Acting as attorney-in-fact for William Ethridge, Ann Ethridge has filed suit against Healthsouth Rehabilitation Center-Beaumont, claiming William was allowed to fall from his bed and fracture his hip after he was deemed a fall risk.

The medical-malpractice suit was filed in the Jefferson County District Court on Feb. 19.

According to the plaintiffs' petition, William Ethridge was admitted into Healthsouth Rehabilitation Center on Jan. 8, 2007. On the admission evaluation at Healthsouth Rehabilitation, Ethridge was found to be a fall risk and was in need of strict fall precautions.

"The orders were given to keep Mr. Ethridge's bed in a low position and to use fall precautions. On the day of his admission at 10:05 p.m., Mr. Ethridge was found on the floor complaining of pain to his right hip with a laceration to his forehead," the suit said.

"Mr. Ethridge was then transferred to Memorial Hermann Baptist Hospital wherein a right intratrochanteric hip fracture was diagnosed. Surgery was performed on Mr. Ethridge's broken right hip on Jan. 9, 2007. On Jan. 25, 2007, an MRI was performed on Mr. Ethridge's brain which showed a left subdural hematoma/hygroma."

The suit continues by alleging the rehabilitation center was negligent in failing "to exercise the ordinary care and diligence exercised by other medical providers in the same or similar circumstances."

The suit also lists the following acts of additional negligence:

  • Failing to actively perform ongoing nursing assessments on William Ethridge to identify actual and potential problems;
  • Failing to put care plans in place for prevention of falls;
  • And failing to put in bed and chair alarms to be used in patients such as William Ethridge who are at high risk for falls.

    "As a result of Defendant's negligent acts, William Ethridge � suffered needlessly with anxiety, pain, and illness resulting in damages," the suit said.

    The plaintiffs are suing for past and future medical expenses, pain, mental anguish, impairment and all court costs.

    They plaintiffs are demanding a trial by jury and are represented by Giles Kibbe, of the Weller, Green, Toups & Terrell law firm.

    Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th Judicial District, has been assigned to the case.

    Case No. D181-266

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