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by Jeff Rasansky - December 6, 2013
Jeff Rasansky
Jeff Rasansky, managing partner of Rasansky Law Firm, is an aggressive Dallas personal injury lawyer with 25 years of legal experience.

Do Unsafe Hospital Beds and Rails Qualify Under Laws of Product Liability?

Nation Master states that there is an estimated 3.6 hospital beds available per 1,000 people in the United States. Despite the fact that there aren’t many beds to go around, there is still a significant problem with unsafe hospital beds. You might not think much of your hospital bed, as this is usually a non-issue when dealing with healthcare or even malpractice.

However, statistics across the country tell a different story. According to News-Medical.net in the year 2005, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ordered the seizure of all of Vail’s unsafe hospital beds to take place. Why?  30 patients were trapped inside of their hospital beds–seven of the injured patients actually died as a direct result. These beds were not necesarily cheaply made; the FDA claimed that the beds were misbranded and caused a significant danger when used as directed. The FDA confiscated all models of the Vail beds (along with promotional materials) with the help of U.S. Marshals.

It was later discovered that Vail Products did not cooperate with quality requirements for their medical beds. Obviously, this is a case in which a product liability lawsuit would be warranted. The safety of the bed should be the last thing on a patient or doctor’s mind. The manufacturers of  medical products should have a dedicated evaluation and review process that guarantees the patient safety-even beyond so called normal use of the product.

The http FDA reported that “between 1985 and 2009, FDA received reports of 803 incidents of patients caught, trapped, entangled or strangled in unsafe hospital beds.” Reports stated there were 480 deaths, 138 nonfatal injuries, and 185 cases where staff intervened before injuries could happen

The FDA states that patient bed or rail entrapment is rare and usually fatal. Although rare, heathcare facility bed and rail entrapment can be a problem and all facilities are advised to carefully examine hospital bed and rails with a view to protecting patients who are usually “frail, elderly, or confused.” The FDA’s statement went on to list several tips to minimize the threat of unsafe hospital beds.

A manufacture that brazenly ignores the FDA guidelines can be sued for product liability, especially if there are fatalities or severe injuries resulting from normal use of their products. All companies should have a comprehensive evaluation process that prevents injuries occurring by anticipating the errors of everyday patients.

If you or someone you know has suffered a serious health complication because of an unsafe hospital bed or railing then contact Rasansky Law FirmThe Rasansky Law Firm has experience in handling defective product cases and can guide you through an ordeal. You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering and physical therapy costs. Do not suffer because of the negligence of a commercial company.

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