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Fractures and Broken Bones

Many cases of nursing home neglect and negligence result in fractures or broken bones.  These injuries are typically very painful, debilitating, require surgery, and are devastating to the elderly – often causing death.  A bone injury can have a serious impact on surrounding tissues, including muscles, tendons, and joints, and may result in temporary or permanent disability and immobility.

Types of Bone Fracture Injuries

There are several types of fractures that can occur, which depend on the amount of force of the trauma that caused the injury:

  • Partial fracture: a crack or chip in the bone
  • Stable fracture: a clean break with ends that line up with each other
  • Transverse fracture: a horizontal fracture line
  • Oblique fracture: a break that leaves an angled line
  • Open or compound fracture: a severe break that causes the bone to pierce the skin
  • Comminuted fracture: a break that shatters the bone into more than two pieces

Treatment and healing time – if possible – will depend on the severity of the fracture and where it is located.  One of the most common injuries when there is a fall for an elderly person is a hip fracture.  These particular fractures are particularly difficult to treat because it will usually require a surgery where a prosthetic hip is implanted into the leg bone.  This can end in immobility, which can lead to bed sores, eating problems, and increased infections.  If a person will walk again, some form of rehab is required.

Causes of Fractures   

Fractures are caused by a trauma to the bone and in the elderly the main reason these injuries occur is falls.  These falls typically happen in nursing homes when the elderly are not properly supervised, are not taken to the bathroom enough, or staff are too busy to respond to call bells and alarms.  It is also well known that residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s who aren’t on a bathroom schedule, or are suffering from a urinary tract infection, at times get up to go to the bathroom without assistance and forget to use the call bell.  In an understaffed facility the ability to get to the folks who are in danger in time is paramount.

Pursuing a Negligence Lawsuit

A person who suffers from a fracture or broken bone due to nursing home’s recklessness or negligence can hold the nursing home corporation liable.

Things to look at include:

  • if the facility identified the fall risk properly;
  • if the proper interventions were in place;
  • the medications a resident was taking;
  • the staffing levels at the time of the fall;
  • how the fall occurred;
  • the response time to the fall;
  • if the proper post-fall assessments were done;
  • if there were prior falls.

In fall cases, a careful review of the medical records is important because some issues may not be apparent – e.g. if you see the phrase “Found on floor”, this means the fall was totally unwitnessed and how long the person was in pain lying on the floor and where the staff were at the time of the fall is the focus.

Additionally, the Incident Report from the investigation is important.  An incident report is a standardized form that along with witness statements is used to attempt to figure out what happened and to prevent the fall from happening again.   Usually, facilities won’t release incident reports to families and we get them through litigation.

Lastly, when there is a fall the facility is required to reexamine the care plan to see if there is anything that can be changed to prevent another fall form happening.

In short, many falls resulting in painful and potentially lethal broken bones and fractures are avoidable.  A well-staffed facility taking good care of their residents should be able to avoid many falls.

 

New Jersey Nursing Home Negligence Lawyers at Davis & Brusca, LLC Provide Representation for Victims of Broken Bone Injuries

If you or a loved one has suffered from an injury involving broken bones due to nursing home negligence, call our nursing home negligence lawyers in New Jersey at Davis & Brusca, LLC. Our experienced lawyers will thoroughly review the facts of your case to determine if negligence or recklessness was a factor in your or your loved ones’ injury. We are dedicated to obtaining the compensation you deserve, and we will be by your side every step of the way so that you can focus on your recovery.

With offices conveniently located in Princeton and Trenton, we advocate for injured victims throughout New Jersey, including the communities of Middlesex County, Essex County, Hudson County, Union County, Morris County, and Hunterdon County. Call us today at 609-786-2540 or contact us online to discuss your case.