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Nursing home restraint use may constitute medical malpractice

When Californians enter the care of a nursing home, or help a loved one do the same, they expect that nursing home residents will be treated not only with top-notch medical care, but also with genuine respect. Undoubtedly, they do not expect for a nursing home resident to be abused or to suffer a patient injury while in the care of trained professionals. Unfortunately, however, some nursing homes employ techniques that may lead to serious patient harm.

Frighteningly, approximately 10 percent of nursing home patients are restrained. Such restraints can traumatize and injure a nursing home resident. Restraints may be chemical or physical in nature. A patient may receive a chemical restraint in the form of a drug, such as a tranquilizer or anti-anxiety medication, with the goal of sedating the patient. In the event of a nursing home error in administration of such a drug, a patient may suffer from serious side effects.

Additionally, a patient may be physically restrained by ties, hand mitts, bed rails, or leg and arm restraints. A staff member could also attempt to restrain a patient by raising his or her bed to a height such that the patient cannot safely get down or pushing a wheelchair into a wall to block movement.

These restraints can be dangerous, and in addition to leading to a patient's loss of dignity, they may lead to serious injuries. A patient may suffer from a fall, an infection, bed sores, restricted breathing, or a number of other potentially serious consequences. If your loved one has been restrained in a nursing home, you may have a cause of action for medical malpractice if harm has been suffered. An attorney may be able to offer guidance on how best to pursue such claims.

Source: nursinghomeabuseguide.org, "Injury Due to Restraints," accessed July 29, 2016

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