Nurse sued after tripping and falling on patient

By Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau | May 14, 2009

FORT SMITH, Ark. � When attempting to assist a patient walking from the hospital bed to the bathroom, Jaime Tran, R.N., tripped over the IV pole and fell. The nurse landed on top the patient, fracturing the patient's ankle.

The patient, Norma Harl, claims the nurse is negligent for failure to use reasonable and proper care and failure to follow proper protocol.

The Oklahoma resident filed suit against St. Edward Mercy Health System Inc., St. Edwards Mercy Medical Center, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas South Central Community Inc., Jamie Tran, R.N., Annette Ramsey, R.N., unknown liability insurance carriers and unknown individual healthcare providers. The suit was filed on May 8 in the Western District of Arkansas, Fort Smith Division.

Harl states that the nurse failed to ensure that the IV pole and bedside table were clear of each other. Allegedly, the nurse let go of Harl and Harl began to fall. As Harl fell, the nurse also fell, landing on top of her.

The plaintiff is suing the hospital under the doctrine of respondeat superior.

The complaint alleges the hospital allowed the staffing level to fall below the amount needed to provide proper care and failed to provide a sufficiently trained staff.

Harl alleges the defendants are negligent for failing to adequately assess, evaluate, care plan and provide the necessary nursing service, failing to provide adequate planning for the risk of falls, failing to implement prevention plans for the risk of falls, allowing the plaintiff to fall to the floor, and for falling on top of plaintiff.

Claiming the defendants deliberately entered false information into plaintiff's medical records and using the fabricated information to avoid liability, the plaintiff is seeking punitive damages "in an amount sufficient to deter St. Edward Mercy Medical Center from the intentional, malicious and fraudulent conduct alleged above."

Harl is seeking damages for pain, suffering, mental anguish, medical bills, and mental pain and suffering.

Fort Smith attorney David Borland of the law firm Nolan, Caddell and Reynolds, P.A. is representing the plaintiff.

Jury trial is demanded.

U.S. District Judge Robert T. Dawson will preside over the litigation.

Case No 2:2009cv02054

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