HAMILTON, AL – Sawyer Law Firm LLC has recently settled a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of an Alabama man who died as a result of becoming entrapped by the rail of his hospital bed. “This was an absolute tragedy,” said attorney J.P. Sawyer. “This poor man went into the hospital for bronchitis and died from asphyxiation due to becoming entrapped by a bed rail.” The patient’s wife called the hospital to check on him and got no answer in his room. According to Sawyer, “It took her 20-30 minutes to get to the hospital, and when she went into his room she found his head trapped between the bed rail and the mattress.”
The lawsuit involved claims against the hospital and the manufacturer of the hospital bed.
The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) reports that about 2.5 million hospital beds are in use in the United States. Between 1985 and 2009, the FDA received reports of 803 incidents of patients caught, trapped, entangled, or strangled in hospital beds. The reports included 480 deaths, 138 nonfatal injuries, and 185 cases where staff intervened to prevent an injury. These incidents often involve the frail, elderly or confused. “This was an important case, and we worked very hard to bring this safety issue to the attention of the hospital administration so that another family does not have to experience a tragedy like this,” said Sawyer.