sedated woman falls off procedure table while awaiting injection

Whenever anyone in Pittsburgh goes to the hospital, it is usually with a measure of trepidation. That is completely natural. Some medical treatments — such as surgery — are invasive and can be frightening, and given the number of complications, a bit of worrying is absolutely warranted.

However, there other treatments — such as receiving shots or prescriptions — that one would assume are so routine for doctors that there is little risk for error or serious injury. Unfortunately, that assumption does not always prove to be true.

A woman named Gloria recently filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against her health care providers alleging that she suffered serious preventable injuries. Gloria had severe lower back pain, and she was visiting the doctor to receive a fairly routine steroid injection.

The simple procedure should have helped alleviate Gloria’s pain. Instead, the opposite happened.

Gloria lay down on a procedure table and was given a sedative to prepare her for the steroid injection. When the sedative wore off, not only was Gloria’s back pain still present, but it was now only one of a host of other injuries. A health care professional told Gloria that she had fallen off the procedure table when she was sedated and did not receive the steroid injection.

Because of the fall, she suffered from a head contusion, dizziness, headaches, lower back pain and pain in the lower right limb. Following the accident, Gloria was also diagnosed with depression, insomnia, anxiety, fatigue and nausea.

People who need medical care should be able to trust their safety to the hands of doctors and nurses. But when accidents occur as a result of failure to follow basic safety measures — such as raising safety rails to prevent sedated patients from falling off tables or beds — it is clear that change is necessary.

Unfortunately for Gloria and many others, the reality is that even basic procedures can expose patients to serious risk if physicians do not exercise proper caution.

Source: The Louisiana Record, “Woman claims medical malpractice after falling off procedure table while sedated,” Kyle Barnett, Feb. 7, 2012

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