February 16, 2022
By: Diana Adjadj, Esq.
Brain Bleed following incorrect fall risk assessment gives rise to a wrongful death claim at a rehabilitation facility.
Wrongful death is a civil action which is alleged when a person dies because of the misconduct or negligence of another. In a wrongful death action either surviving members of the family and/or the representative of the deceased estate brings forth a civil complaint seeking compensatory damages for their losses.
Senior neglect occurs when an individual, a care provider or facility has undertaken a duty to provide care, treatment and/or services to an elderly or senior patient, and breaches that obligation by providing subpar services. As a result of their breach of duty to provide the undertaken duties to a certain standard of care, the elderly or senior patient is harmed and otherwise sustains injuries or damages.
Panada eyes is a common term used to refer to the medical condition known as periorbital ecchymosis, which results from bleeding into the skin around the eyes. This injury is objectively diagnosed because the direct impact or head trauma manifests as bruising around the injured party’s eyes. Panda eyes are a direct indication that there was blunt trauma or impact to the head.
Brain bleeding can occur between the brain tissue and the skull or within the brain tissue itself following a traumatic blow to the head. Following a personal injury incident such as a fall, slip and fall, car accident or other incident in which an individual has sustained direct impact to the head, there is always a potential risk of a brain bleed.
Fall risk assessments are essential when admitting a patient in a nursing home, care facility, other inpatient centers such as rehabilitation facility, skilled nursing home, post-operative center and other facilities in which caregivers provide their services on behalf of an admitted patient. Fall risk assessments are part of admission policies and procedures geared towards fall prevention and designed for patient safety. Depending on whether a patient is deemed a high risk fall or low risk fall, certain safety measures are taken to accommodate the patient’s needs.
The deceased senior patient was a resident of a short-term rehabilitation facility, where she was incorrectly assessed as a moderate fall risk instead of a high fall risk. As a result of the rehab’s incorrect assessment, minimal and inadequate fall precautions were implemented and caused the elderly patient to suffer a fall. At some point care providers employed by the rehabilitation facility found the elderly patient lying face down with severe facial trauma, lacerations, and head trauma. The elderly patient was eventually diagnosed with severe orbital fracture, panada eyes, acute brain bleeding, facial lacerations, periorbital ecchymosis and some bodily fractures. Shortly thereafter the elderly patient was transferred to a skilled nursing facility where she ultimately died. The medical examiner in her case concluded that it was the blunt force to the head that caused her death. The daughter of the deceased elderly patient brought forth a wrongful death action against the rehabilitation facility and ultimately the case settled in a private mediation.
Case: Dianne Briggs, et. al v. St. Catherine Laboure Manor, Inc.;, et al.; Case No. 16-2018-CA-001113-XXXX-MA; Court: Florida State Court; Causes of Action inter alia: Negligence, Wrongful Death, Loss of Consortium, Nursing Home Liability, Rehab Liability, Elderly Neglect