Welcome to Wal-Mart. Please wait for a wheelchair.

The SE Texas Record Sep. 4, 2012, 11:10am

Ever wonder why so many hospitals insist that discharged patients be rolled to the exit in wheelchairs?

Most of those patients walked in on their own, and many of them have been walking up and down the halls, gaining strength for their anticipated release. Some even spend their last minutes in the hospital pacing impatiently while awaiting the arrival of wheelchairs that would seem unnecessary.

They didn’t enter the hospital in wheelchairs and they haven’t spent a single second in wheelchairs during their stay, but hospital rules insist they be rolled out in them.

It must be a liability issue. The hospital must want to make sure that discharged patients exit safely so that it’s not on the hook for any harm that might occur if they fell while walking out.

This is a policy that the Wal-Mart Stores might want to investigate – leastwise, the Wal-Mart Store in Wylie.

Only, the Wylie Wal-Mart might want to wheel customers in, as well as out, just to be on the safe side. The store manager is learning this lesson the hard way.

Wylie Wal-Mart shopper Denise Lynn Cullum filed suit against the store on July 20 in Collin County District Court. She claims she was injured there over a year ago when she tripped and fell on an “unsecured” rug at the entrance.

Cases like this one share certain telltale elements, among them:

  • Person allegedly injured by “hazards” that multitudes have avoided;

  • Person taking a year or more to file suit, by which time store personnel involved may have moved on or forgotten details of the incident; and

  • Person seeks damages in excess of medical expenses.

If the Wal-Mart in Wylie could afford to provide wheelchairs and escorts for all shoppers, it probably would. Instead, it will have to beware of shoppers shopping for a lawsuit.


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