There is a hidden danger in many hospital rooms across the country that most patients and their families do not know about: bed rails. When someone is in the hospital with a medical ailment, the assumption, of course, is that the the professional who work their and the equipment provided exist to make the patient better. No one expects to suffer an injury as a result of staying in the facility.
Of course all cases of medical malpractice involve just that: a patient suffering more harm because of the conduct of medical professionals. That harm can result not only from the actions of the medical staff but also from the equipment that they use. That includes bed rails–the metal bars placed on the side of hospital beds presumably to prevent patients from rolling out and falling.
While the idea of bed rails seem simple enough, the reality is that they often cause far more harm than they prevent. That is because there are hundreds of cases of patients who have rolled into the bars and suffered serious injury, including death from suffocation and smothering. To a middle-aged healthy individual it may be surprising that a bar could cause harm. But, some medical patients, including many seniors, have extreme mobility problems and strength deterioration. For these individuals, getting stuck between a rail and the bed or part of the mattress cannot be solved by applying pressure and rolling over. When help doesn’t arrive in a timely fashion, serious injury often results.
It is for this reason that medical patients and senior care advocacy groups have been working for years to spread awareness of the danger and spur action to keep community members safe. For example, the National Consumer Voice recently shared information on a new petition being launched to demand changes to the rails currently in use.
The main issue is that there are little to no standards regarding how these rails are made and used. As a result, many of the adult bed rails that are on the market pose unacceptable risk of harm. Design changes can be made, however, which drastically eliminate that risk. Sadly, most in the industry are resistant to those changes, as they are happy selling the older, dangerous products and making profits without much concern for those hurt in the process.
Advocates are hoping to change that by getting public officials to mandate higher standards for these rails. In addition, they are calling for a ban on the rails currently in use. When safer rails are manufactured and put into use, hundreds of lives and countless injuries might be spared.
If you want to sign the petition and pass it along to family and friends, please check out the Consumer Voice site on the topic here.
No one, including vulnerable medical patients, should be harmed by the very products that are designed to keep us safe. But it happens all the time. If you or someone you know ever finds yourself in the unfortunate position of dealing with an injury caused by medical equipment in Illinois, please reach out to our team of lawyers to see how we can help ensure accountability.
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