While medically less severe than the estimated 250,000 hip fractures annually in elderly patient populations, pending the case-specific circumstances, leg fractures are more prevalent numerically than pelvis breaks, and in turn, can cause similar complications comparable to the fiscal and medical damages seen in pelvic fracture incidents, including mortality in cases of severe fractures in the previously vulnerable elderly patient. Moreover, any fracture injury emanating from a nursing home should be investigated by the facility itself, but also, by concerned family members of an elderly individual potentially with the help of legal counsel, to determine specifically the fact pattern of event and causes of action leading to an accident or incident causing a broken leg.
Known Risk Factors in Nursing Home Patient Populations for Increased Likelihood to Sustain Fractures
Elderly patients are medically documented as to having significantly higher risks of fracture upon external impacts due to one or potentially many of the following risk factors in conjunction, including:
- Femur and tibia fractures due to negligent operation of a wheelchair or other mobility device, causing a patient’s leg to catch and sustain trauma
- Prior fractures sustaining later external blows are incredibly susceptible to secondary and even tertiary fractures of the pelvis, femur, and tibia in an elderly patient
- In this sense, any premises liability at a nursing home facility poses an extremely high risk of causing serious injury or death in light of the reasonably anticipated traffic flow of a nursing home involving high-risk patient
- In certain rare instances of bedsores in stage 4 or later, which in themselves are already indicative of nursing neglect and potentially fatal, may result in a functional leg fracture near the site of the bedsore infection
- Pre-existing health conditions of any kind, including heart congestion, high blood pressure, or other medical issues will always further complicate an elderly individual’s fracture recovery to an extent not frequently seen in younger patient demographics
- Other forms of nursing home negligence resulting in broken legs includes medication errors, especially with those relating to blood pressure or other medications that increase a patient’s risk for fainting or falling while walking after taking a given medication
- Due to the bone loss associated with osteoporosis and its prevalence in aging women, female nursing home residents have the highest rate and risk of fractures of all demographics, with further risk increases for fractures being seen in former smokers, those who are underweight, and those who lack the physical mobility to maneuver during a fall to minimize harm
Moreover, the prolonged and uncertain recovery period for elderly individuals, as well as the potential for future long-term immobility or difficulty walking due to the nursing home injury should be considered when discussing any resident case involving a nursing home leg fracture.
Nursing Home Obligations to Patients to Prevent Leg Fracture
Due to the nature of the patient population, including not only elderly and protected as a vulnerable party in virtually all jurisdictions but also in light of the medical risks, nursing homes have a long-standing legal obligation to ensure the basic safety, well-being, and freedom from risks while residing in a nursing home facility. Should a nursing home have failed to meet the requisite duty of care owed by a similar professional acting reasonably in the same situation, an elderly individual almost certainly has viable grounds to begin a claims case regarding the nursing home broken leg injuries and other damages.
Finally, nursing home facilities must seek medical attention for resident injuries or accidents immediately. IN the case of leg fractures, hourly delays in seeking treatment statically decrease an elderly patient’s survival chances significantly until medical attention is sought or irreversible medical harms emerge in the elderly individual, including bone infections, septicemia, immobility, chronic pain, neurological and vascular damage, and potentially death. However, medical researchers have noted that a strong majority of nursing home residents or elderly individuals suffering from leg fractures obtain surgical treatment occasionally days after an incident, potentially due to outstanding health issues preventing orthopedic surgery. In all these cases, the delays in seeking surgical treatment that an elderly person requires to maintain their physical well-being is grossly underserved by delayed medical treatment access in cases of elderly nursing home broken leg claims cases.