Hospital fall alert

An interesting juxtaposition of stories in the Wall Street Journal today:

Hospitals Aim to Curb Injuries from Falling; Risk for Young Patients, describes the surprisingly large number of injuries and deaths from patients falling in the hospital. Apparently there are more than 1 million falls per year. Contributing factors include patients who are disoriented after surgery or by medications, understaffing, lack of fall prevention procedures, and poor equipment.

But one equipment based solution seems to have its own problems:

Hospital Beds Seized Following 7 Deaths describes the seizure by Federal Marshals of Vail Products beds, “which have a tent like structure as part of the bed designed to keep patients… from falling out.”

At least 30 people have become entrapped in the beds, and some died as a result.

March 23, 2005

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