The emergency room of your local hospital is a busy place. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 130 million people visit the emergency room annually. Of those visits, 35 million are for injuries. About 12 percent of all emergency room visits lead to hospital admission.
People go to the emergency room to receive treatment for their injuries. Emergency rooms are often crowded with patients, doctors, and other healthcare staff members. With so many people crowded into this small space, emergency rooms can therefore present serious hazards to patients who are not careful and aware of their surroundings. Falls can easily happen while you are attempting to navigate around the emergency room. A fall can lead to potentially serious or fatal injuries.
Just as you may have legal rights if a doctor or medical professional injures you, you may also have a claim against the hospital if you fall in the emergency room for reasons that are not your fault, such as a slippery floor. A medical malpractice attorney will need to review the facts of your case to make this determination.
Fall Hazards Present in Emergency Rooms
You might think that a hospital would be one of the safest places you could be. Because hospitals must maintain cleanliness for the health of staff and patients, you may believe there would not be any hazards lying around that could present a risk. But the truth is that several of these dangers can exist in any emergency room.
Blood and other bodily fluids can be present on the emergency room floor due to injured and ill patients. Individuals who are bleeding, vomiting, or unable to control their bodily functions might be in such a state that they are unaware of their condition.
It falls on the hospital’s staff to diagnose and triage patients as they come in and to control and/or promptly clean up any blood, vomit, or other fluids that may be on the floor or any other surface that could cause a dangerous condition for other patients.
As patients become ill, the hospital’s staff should promptly clean up blood, vomit, or other bodily fluids. If it is impossible to clean up such spills immediately, they should identify them and set up barriers to help keep people away.
Carpets and Rugs
The emergency room might have rugs and carpets on the floor. These should remain in good repair and not be folded over or in a state of significant wear. A rug or mat that is folded over, or carpeting worn through to the floor underneath, can catch your foot while walking. This can cause you to trip, fall, and be injured.
While failing to clean up bodily fluids can create a fall hazard, the methods used to take care of these spills can create different dangers. Cleaners used to disinfect and clear away spills can leave the floor slippery. It may not be immediately apparent to you that a floor is wet.
If janitorial staff are asked to clean a floor in the emergency room, they are required to thereafter take steps to alert visitors that the area may be slippery. Warning cones or signs near the site are an easy but sometimes overlooked way to reduce the likelihood of a fall.
What to Do If You Fall in the Emergency Room
If you experience a fall in the emergency room, you should report the fall to a staff member. You might be tempted to ignore the incident if you are not injured, but alerting hospital staff to where you fell and the circumstances of your fall can help prevent others from also falling in the same location.
If you hit your head or suspect that you may have suffered an injury, this should be reported promptly as well. Your medical malpractice attorney will want to know if the hospital staff provided appropriate treatment to you following your fall.
Be wary about discussing fault with hospital staff members. Admitting that you were not paying attention when you slipped and fell or that your accident was your fault may impact your ability to recover compensation later.
What Can a Medical Malpractice Attorney Do?
A California medical malpractice attorney works to help you recover compensation for medical errors that cause you injuries. Negligent care that leads to you suffering harm can result in your doctor and others being ordered to pay you compensation.
If you suffer any injury at a California hospital, contact The Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq. for help. Our medical malpractice attorneys will review the circumstances of any injury you suffered and advise you on what compensation you might be eligible to receive.
Contact our firm today and ask for your free initial consultation.