Possible Patient Injuries during Transportation

A number of elderly and disabled people and medical patients use medical transport services to be transported from their homes or nursing homes to a dialysis clinic, or doctor’s office, for outpatient treatment or to a hospital. Surprisingly, a number of such passengers are injured in the course of transportation. Injuries are often caused because of negligence on the part of the transport company in improperly securing the patient or leaving the patient unattended.

Most common examples of these medical transport injuries are slip and fall accidents, injuries while getting in and out of a medical transport vehicle, accidents in transit because the patient has not been properly secured, wheelchair accidents, and accidents on sidewalks, in parking lots in elevators, hospitals, medical offices and nursing homes.

What is the responsibility of the medical transport company?
A medical transport company is a business which advertises the services it provides for payment, in transporting the general public between their homes and medical facilities. So, in actual fact a medical transport company is a ‘common carrier’ in law. In most states a company which carries persons for reward is obliged to use utmost care and diligence in assuring safe passage, and must provide all that is necessary to ensure this. In addition the carrier has to exercise and demonstrate a reasonable degree of skill. The State of California in its Book of Standard Civil Jury Instructions is very explicit in spelling out the duty of care that common carriers must apply. Reading on, you’ll know why choosing the services of a reputed medical transport company is crucial, and what is in stake.

Types of patient injuries
Patient injuries can take other forms. Take for instance the East Pittsburgh woman who filed an injury lawsuit in December of 2010. She was injured while being transported back from hospital after having a cast removed. In this accident one of the paramedics fell on her which carrying her up the stairs to her home. As a result of the fall her femur was shattered, and to repair it she had to undergo surgery. She filed a lawsuit claiming damages in excess of $25,000from the ambulance service she had hired.

Slip and fall accidents often take place in parking lots, on sidewalks and on wheelchair ramps resulting in patient injuries. Slip and falls are the leading cause of injury accidents.

Wheelchair lifts on transportation vehicles are designed as an aid to handicapped, disabled or indisposed patients on regular or powered wheelchairs when getting in and out of transport vehicles. However sometimes lift devices could be defective resulting in serious injuries and bodily harm to users. Common injuries resulting from defective wheelchair lifts include:
  • Falls because of which the wheelchair passenger sustains broken or fractured bones
  • Facial lacerations
  • Head injuries which could be serious
  • Injury to the spinal cord
  • Broken nose
  • Amputations
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Neck and back injuries
Some of the main causes of wheelchair lift accidents are:
  • Poor maintenance
  • Wet or slippery surfaces
  • Defective machinery
  • Oily lift surface
  • Defective design
  • Improper installation
  • Lack of care and negligent handling by the driver
  • Improper use
  • Improperly securing the wheelchair during operation
  • Defect in roll stop latch
Improperly secured patient. Frequently accidents take place resulting in serious patient injury because a patient has not been properly secured while being transported. As a consequence the patient has fallen when a vehicle has had to suddenly brake or when taking a turn. Accidents of this nature often result in:
  • Broken bones
  • Lacerations
  • Brain and spinal cord injuries
  • Organ damage

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