Subdural Hematomas in Missouri Nursing Homes: How Do Nursing Home Residents Get This Type of Injury? Hint—Negligence!
One of the most serious injuries that Missouri nursing home residents sustain during their residency is a subdural hematoma. There are many different ways a resident of a Missouri nursing home can sustain a subdural hematoma, but the common denominator for most of these is a lack of proper supervision by the nursing home. A lack of supervision and not meeting the needs of each individual resident in the nursing home generally results in negligent conduct which can result in a nursing home resident sustaining a subdural hematoma. In fact, a person’s risk of a subdural hematoma doubles after the age of 65 which generally means nursing homes residents are at an increased risk for a subdural hematoma, which means if a person over 65 is in a nursing home and is already a known fall risk, there should be significant supervision to prevent that resident from falling. If you or a loved one have sustained a subdural hematoma as a result of the negligence to a healthcare provider in a Missouri nursing home, please call our St. Louis nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer.
What is a Subdural Hematoma?
Inside the skull there are several layers of tissue that surround the brain. A subdural hematoma is when there is bleeding between the outmost lawyer (the dura) and the next layer (the arachnoid). In most cases involving a subduring hematoma, the bleeding is not in the brain, but the bleeding is inside of the skull. Since the skull is a closed system, the more blood in the skull means more pressure in the skull. This pressure in the skull is called intracranial pressure and it is very dangerous.
This is dangerous because high intracranial pressure can 1) damage brain tissue by compressing it, cutting off oxygen, or forcing brain tissue out the base of the skull (foramen magnum), 2) cut off oxygen supply to the brain and cause a hypoxia injury, and 3) lead to unconsciousness and wrongful death.
Causes of a Subdural Hematoma in a Missouri Nursing Home
A subdural hematoma is caused by a resident’s head hitting a hard surface. It is the direct impact of the resident’s head on a hard surface that causes this type of injury. The harder the impact the more likely that a subdural hematoma could form and the more severe the injury could be. But even a light impact could cause a subdural hematoma. Nursing home falls are the primary cause of subdural hematomas.
There are many possible ways that a resident’s head could come into contact with into a hard surface. This can happen if the resident trips on something and falls, slips on a liquid on the floor and falls, rolls out of bed and hits the floor or falls out of a wheelchair and hits the floor.. There are innumerable instances where nursing home employees have left a resident sitting on a toilet for an hour or more. When the resident then tries to get himself or herself back to bed, they fall and suffer a significant head injury. Most subdural hematomas that occur in Missouri nursing homes are preventable because they are caused by the negligence of nursing home employees (often because the corporate office chooses not to have enough employees on hand so as to increase profits). Some of the most common causes of a subdural hematoma at a nursing home include the following examples:
- Failing to proper monitor, supervise, and assist residents who are fall risks that fall and that hit their head;
- Medication errors or overdoses which cause fatigue, dizziness, or disorientation, and result in a resident’s fall;
- Inadequate nutrition or dehydration in a resident which causes weakness and instability;
- Improperly transferring residents by recklessly or negligently moving a resident from a bed to a gurney or to a wheelchair;
- Allowing a resident to slip in a bathroom or leaving a resident in a bathroom too long without proper assistance;
- Letting nursing home residents wander improperly without supervision;
- Reckless, careless, or negligent shower and bathtub assistance;
- Failing to cleanup spills or messes on the ground;
- Neglecting residents for so long they try to get up on their own;
- Not reacting quickly enough when a resident is getting restless;
- Understaffing the nursing home facility which limits supervision and assistance;
- Failing to properly help a resident up from a wheelchair;
- Dropping a resident on a lift; and
- Many other causes.
When a resident sustains a subdural hematoma, it is not unusual for a nursing home to blame the resident for his or her injuries. Imagine this scenario: A nursing home resident is pushing her call button for over thirty minutes to get assistance to use the restroom so she doesn’t urinate or defecate on herself. The nursing home ignores her call light and no one comes to her room. Trying to preserve her dignity she gets out of bed to try and make it to the bathroom. In the process she falls and hits her head, suffers a significant head injury. When nursing home employees find her, she is sent to the hospital where she is diagnosed with a subdural hematoma and dies two days later. She never regains consciousness and is never able to say goodbye to her family.
What does the nursing home do? They will often document that they checked on the resident and told her that they would be right back to assist her but she got up anyway and fell. It is not at all unusual for the nursing home to blame the resident for her own injuries.This is in an effort by the nursing home to avoid being held responsible for their negligence.
This is why you need to have an experienced St. Louis nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer to help represent you or your loved one. We have over 18 years of experience protecting the rights of residents and their families who may have been harmed by a Missouri nursing home’s negligence. We have handled many cases involving head injuries, subdural hematomas, broken hips and broken bones that have happened in falls at nursing homes. We can help. Call (314) 334-1441 for a FREE appointment to learn how we can help you.