Nursing home abuse is a big problem and a spiral fracture is a common indicator of physical abuse. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, approximately 10% of nursing home residents are subjected to physical abuse, emotional/psychological abuse or neglect, sexual abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, or other types of misconduct. While 10% may not sound like a large percentage, the CDC reports that there are approximately 1.4 million people in nursing homes in the United States, and in Missouri alone there are 81,100 beds licensed to facilities across the state. These numbers are staggering considering that 10% of residents endure some form of abuse. This could mean over 8,000 Missouri residents are suffering from abuse in a nursing home each year, which is approximately 22 incidents of abuse each and every day! That is almost one every hour. Imagine that…twenty-two vulnerable, elderly people are abused every day in Missouri nursing homes that probably promised their family that they would treat their loved ones like they were members of their own family.
While there are many indicators or signs of nursing home abuse, a St. Louis nursing home abuse lawyer should be contacted anytime a resident has sustained a “spiral fracture.” This is a type of fracture which only occurs in certain instances that commonly indicate abuse or mishandling. This is an important fact to know to protect the rights of your loved one.
There are many different types of fractures that could occur to a bone. For instance, there are oblique fractures which break on an angle, a transverse fracture which is straight across the bone, a compression fracture which is where the bone crushes into itself, or comminuted fractures which are shattered pieces of bone (like an explosion of bone).
But a spiral fracture is unlike any of these types of fractures because the breaking pattern resembles a corkscrew-like break. This is quite unique and easy to identify on an x-ray. Usually the fracture is a simple fracture, meaning that the bone has broken but stayed in place. However, the corkscrew or spiral appearance of the break line is very obvious as it goes up and down the bone.
Spiral fractures are rare and rather unique because they do not normally occur due to an impact or fall like the other types of fractures mentioned above. Rather, a spiral fracture is caused by a pulling, twisting, or yanking motion on a limb, usually an arm. This is when there is outside torsion or pulling on the limb, but the muscles inside the limb are pulling the other direction. This creates a shearing force up and down the bone which results in the fracture. Think of a spiral fracture as being caused by pulling one way and pushing the other way.
Spiral fractures are a red flag for nursing home abuse. This is because a spiral fracture does not generally occur in a trip and fall, slip and fall, impact, or other type of injury. A spiral fracture usually occurs when a person is being pulled or grabbed against his or her will. This could be dragging a person in a direction that he or she does not want to go in, or a spiral fracture could be caused by forcing a person to lay down, sit down, or pushed into a room when the person is resisting the relocation. The key to understanding a spiral fracture is recognizing that there is resistance by the resident which indicates an intention to not go in the forced direction.
While it is true that a spiral fracture could be caused naturally from an incident, such as twisting an ankle in a hole and falling to the side, a spiral fracture in a nursing home is rare absent physical abuse. This is especially true with a spiral fracture to the arm, which is commonly indicative of someone grabbing or forcing a person by the arm against his or her will.
Whenever a resident of a nursing home suffers a spiral fracture, you should have a St. Louis nursing home abuse lawyer evaluate whether there was misconduct or abuse which caused that injury. This is simply a type of fracture which does not commonly occur absent misconduct or physical abuse. Even if it was not intentional abuse, there could be neglect care, treatment, and handling of your loved one which resulted in the spiral fracture. Here at the Terry Law Firm, we have over 18 years of experience handling St. Louis nursing home abuse and neglect cases and have handled many cases involving residents who have suffered spiral fractures from abusive caregivers. We can evaluate your claim for FREE, and if we accept your case we will perform an investigation to determine what occurred. Call to schedule an appointment with our lawyer by dialing (314) 334-1441 to learn how we can help.
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