Patient falls off operating room table

  1. 2
    Hello all!
    I read this scary article last night and thought I would get some discussion started.

    The main reason it caught my attention is that is actually happened to me once and I can honestly say it was through no fault of the hospital or those of us in the room. The patient had had a spinal anesthetic and had just had a fractured hip repaired. Anesthesia was at the head of the table and I was untying the patient from the fracture table. MD had alredy walked away, and the scrub nurse was gathering the instruments. All of a sudden, while I am at the patient's feet, she sat up, leaned over and fell off! It happened so fast I couldn't make it to the side of the bed. The bed was up about 4 feet in the air because we had just finished working on her. And of course, no side rails on a surgery table.
    The patient had a small head laceration, no other injuries, thank God! She was very confused and we were so lucky that her family did not sue us. It was absolutely the worst day of my entire nursing career. And I'm talking about 20 years at that point!
    Esme12 and lindarn like this.

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  2. 14 Comments...

  3. 5
    It says the lawsuit is seeking "more than 15,000 dollars in damages." A friend of mine just settled for nearly 1 million dollars when she fell on some stairs at a business and injured her neck.

    If the woman really had a TBI, broken hip, collar bone, and toe, I think the hospital would consider themselves very, very lucky if they can get out of this for 15,000 dollars.
  4. 0
    Bad form on Yale's part....they should have apologized and settled. What were they thinking. An admission that something happened and it couldn't be prevented is not an admission of negligence. Wow.

    I worked at a hospital that a patient caught fire in the OR. This patient had a perforated ulcer after drinking and eating soft pretzels.......when the surgeon cut with the movie the methane gas exploded. . The patient did survive with minimal complications and burns (thanks to a very quick thinking criculating nurse) the surgeon had singed hair and no eyelashes and eye brows. Very scary....Code Red OR.
  5. 0
    How odd that I read this today. Nurse Jackie just had Sunday's episode of a patient being transferred from EMT gurney to the hospital table and was dropped in the process..the head honcho wanted everyone to just ignore it, make no acknowledgment to the pt about the accident nor utter the words "i'm sorry" or apologize in anyway after it occured and he found out. All the patient wanted was an apology in the episode. He said "all i wanted was an apology, you know I could have sued you!"

    Pretty silly of Yale to treat the patient this way. And yes if its only $15,000 the pt is seeking, Yale should count their blessings!
  6. 0
    My mom had hip replacement surgery about a decade ago. I'm not a medical nurse so bear with me....the thingie that's like a trapeze that is attached to the bed so someone can move herself....the whole contraption fell on her as she was being moved to her med/surg room. She got a bruised face out of it. The hospital was very apologetic! As it should be!!
  7. 2
    One of the first things I learned when I went to the OR was to never leave that patient's side at the end of a surgery. You have no idea how they will wake up, and as small as those beds are, it would be very easy for a patient to fall off. The only way I could even see this as a possibility that wasn't pure negligence is if the patient woke up very wild. In that state, they are very strong, and if you don't have enough help to hold them down, you're in trouble.

    I would think any lawsuit where a patient fell would be an automatic ruling in favor of the patient because falls are so preventable. If this lady really is only asking for $15,000, Yale needs to settle out of court and give her everything she wants because she could easily get way more than that if she sued for what she is actually entitled to.
    flbeaches and orthonurse55 like this.
  8. 0
    We have a friend, in his early 60s that presented to the ER with sx of MI. EKG, cardiac enzymes all positive. Protocol for MI in ER prior to being flown out involved heparin? ER nurses would be more able to answer that. I'm not sure. He was administered an anti-coagulant besides aspirin. In transferring to gurney ER staff dropped him. He stroked after developing a bleed in his brain.
    He went from being a completely functional working man to a nursing home on discharge.
    Apparently this sort of thing happens more frequently than I imagined.
  9. 6
    I'm an OR nurse, and my standard of care is that the safety strap doesn't come off until the gurney or bed is on one side of the patient and I am on the other and we're ready to move the patient. Never ever take the safety strap off until you're ready to move the patient, and never ever leave the patient's side after the strap is off. Pretty basic standard of care.
    Zookeeper3, LPNnowRN, Fiona59, and 3 others like this.
  10. 0
    This is why, once anesthesia turns off the gas, someone is always at the patient's side even if the safety strap is still secured where I work. It also isn't uncommon for us to move the patient off the OR table to the litter or bed while still anesthetized and get the side rails up on the side not against the OR table. We had a major incident a few years ago- multiple ortho trauma requiring use of the fracture table. Surgeon removed the groin post prior to moving on to the second procedure. With nothing holding the patient in place, they fell while the surgeon was manipulating the other fracture. Not sure what happened, but I know it was an insanely huge deal.
  11. 1
    One time I saw a patient "wake up" during surgery and start fighting everyone. The anaesethia guy quickly adjusted some things, but it took about 4 people to hold the patient down before he went back "to sleep."
    QueenMangin likes this.

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