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What to know about patient handling injuries

| Jun 1, 2021 | Medical Malpractice

When most people discuss injuries sustained in healthcare settings, they think of botched surgeries, misdiagnoses and medication errors. However, in a hospital, there are daily instances of injuries caused by medical personnel working hands-on with patients.

Patient handling is the movement of patients between facilities, beds and medical equipment. Done wrong, it can cause expensive and painful injuries with long-term effect.

What are risks in patient handling?

Patient handling is what many would consider the lowest rung of patient interaction: moving a patient from a wheelchair to a bed, from a bed to a stretcher, from a stretcher to another bed. Those doing this work will often have training in patient handling, but that’s not always the case.

If someone mishandles a patient, that could lead to:

  • Broken bones
  • Bruises
  • Lacerations
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Disrupted medical interventions

The most frequent mishandling incident is dropping a patient. However, if a patient experiences a psychiatric episode, interventions may seriously injure a patient simply in need of care. Less dramatic instances can involve simple mistakes of process, tangled cords causing an intervention, even falls are common.

How can I tell if my loved one was mishandled?

There are some obvious signs of mishandling and some less obvious ones.  If you find mysterious bruises or cuts on your loved ones with no explanation, that is an obvious sign.  There are many “cardinal signs” that indicate that a patient has suffered an unnecessary injury, such as bone fractures, open wounds, etc.

If someone you care for received injuries because of carelessness, aggressive or incorrect patient handing practices, the it is in your best interest to take action.