Posted On: June 11, 2013 by Andrew G. Slutkin

Negligence Involving Bed Rails

There are many hidden and unknown dangers in the very places we expect to heal; for example, hospital beds. Many of these hospital beds have rails, typically made of metal, that run along the side of the sleeping space. These bed rails operate to prevent someone from rolling off accidentally.

Several months ago the Consumer Product Safety Commission released a review of bedrail deaths and injuries of adults. Using data from hospitals, the report cited 155 deaths involving bed rails from January 2003 to September 2012. In that same period, almost 37,000 people were injured in bed rail accidents and treated at hospital emergency rooms. According to this report, the deaths and injuries most commonly occurred when the victim became stuck in the bed rails, mainly with his or her head or neck getting caught. These alarming numbers triggered the CPSC to move forward in addressing bed rail safety.

Last week, the CPSC “merged” two petitions related to bed rail safety. Combined, the two petitions offer the CPSC an array of options: it can decide to do nothing, ban the use of bed rails entirely, or choose any various steps in between. Safety advocates are insistent that no intermediary step will eliminate all harm, suggesting that a ban likely is the best and safest option. The prevalence of these beds and bed rails in residences, nursing homes, and hospitals suggests that it is likely this petition will gain deep collective interest among a number of organizations.

Although these bed rails are intended to improve safety, they may lead to serious harm or even death. No one should be injured by a product that is supposed to keep them safe and content. But, when something does go wrong, it may be due to improper design or use. For those affected, there are many avenues for legal recourse. To learn more, please contact our experienced attorneys who have handled negligence cases involving hospital beds.

A copy of the petition can be found here.

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