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  • Hospital Malpractice – Nurse’s Negligence Allows Postoperative Patient to Fall, Causing Additional Injuries: Darling v. McLaren Lapeer Region

Sommers Schwartz attorney Matthew Turner filed a hospital malpractice lawsuit on behalf of a woman who suffered serious injuries and had to undergo additional surgery and intense physical therapy after her nurse negligently allowed her to fall in the bathroom.

As alleged in the complaint, the patient underwent major back surgery at the defendant hospital to relieve pain and pressure on the spinal cord and the nerves in her lower back. Surgeons performed multiple surgical procedures, including a decompressive laminectomy, transpedicular decompression, inter-lumbar fusion, bone grafts, and insertion of a biomechanical device and screws.

Following these procedures, the patient was considered a high fall risk and needed significant mobility support, supervision, and assistance. Nevertheless, and disregarding the patient’s postoperative limitations, her nurse failed to assess her ability to ambulate independently and failed to have appropriate support and equipment available. The nurse’s negligence resulted in the patient falling to the floor while attempting to independently lift herself from the toilet.

The fall displaced the patient’s surgical hardware. She underwent emergency surgery to remove and replace the implant; unfortunately, repairing the damage required extending the instrumentation and fusing two additional levels of her spine. Following that procedure, she developed a postoperative infection requiring additional surgery, wound care, multiple courses of antibiotics, and permanent antibiotic suppressive management. Had the nurse followed the appropriate standard of care, the patient would have avoided these additional surgeries and recovery complications. The patient’s lawsuit seeks compensation for her past and future medical expenses, physical and emotional pain and suffering, disability and disfigurement, and other damages and losses.

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