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Part 2 of 5 – Suffered Serious Injuries

As a result of the above described failures on the part of Defendant’s staff, Plaintiff fell on August 6, 2009 and suffered serious injuries. Because staff failed to provide toileting assistance, she ambulated to the bathroom unassisted and when she attempted to get up from the commode, she fell. According to the 8/6/09 nurse’s note, when staff found her (it is unknown how long she had been lying on the floor), she had on “bedroom shoes” with food on the bottom which were “very slippery” as a result. Thus, not only had staff failed to keep the floor clean of food and other debris, they also failed to provide Plaintiff with non-skid footwear. When staff picked Plaintiff up from the floor, she immediately complained of pain in her left wrist and she was sent to the hospital for evaluation. Plaintiff’s son was notified. However, her son was told by staff that his mother had purportedly fallen “in the shower.”

At the hospital, the Plaintiff was in “severe pain,” per the Physician’s Clinical Report. The report also documented severe tenderness, swelling and a deformity consistent with a forearm fracture. An x-ray revealed two fractures: a fractured ulna, and a “severely displaced” fracture of the radius. Plaintiff’s arm was placed in a splint and she was told to follow-up with her orthopedic.

The Plaintiff saw her orthopedic the next day. According to a physician progress note dated August 7, 2009, the Plaintiff had an “obvious deformity in her wrist.” An x-ray showed a “95% displaced” radius fracture. The family opted against surgery, given Plaintiff’s age and medical condition. Plaintiff’s orthopedic concurred and felt that a closed reduction and casting was a better option for her. The orthopedic performed a closed reduction maneuver (i.e. he manually re-set the two fractured bones, causing the Plaintiff severe pain) and placed the Plaintiff’s arm in a splint. Even after the procedure, post-reduction x-rays still showed 20% displacement of the radius fracture, as well as a shortening of the wrist. Plaintiff thereafter continued to see her orthopedic over the next 7 months, during which time her left wrist and arm remained either in a cast or splint. During this time, the fractures never healed completely, and instead Plaintiff developed crepitus, and her wrist at the fracture site continued to tilt backwards over time with increased comminution, and ultimately the fracture site became “extremely shortened” and a permanent deformity developed at the wrist the size of a golf ball. See the color photos produced during pre-suit.

As a result, Plaintiff permanently lost the use of her left wrist, her physical and occupational therapy notwithstanding, which in turn required an increased level of assistance with all of her activities of daily living. Additionally, Plaintiff suffered from severe, chronic pain for which she required pain medication. At one point, the pain became so severe that she was switched to a narcotic pain medication (Vicodin). Further, according to the psychiatric notes in her chart, the Plaintiff was unable to sleep at night and became depressed due to the pain in her left wrist.

Continue reading: Part 3 of 5 – Not Deemed to be High Fall Risk >>