Our client was a 69 year old woman who had recently undergone a total knee replacement surgery. The day after the surgery, she was evaluated by a physical therapist. Our client was able to ambulate approximately 80 feet on the first post-operative day with the use of a gait belt and the assistance of the physical therapist. The physical therapist determined that our client would need the use of a bedside commode whenever the foley catheter was removed.
On the second postoperative day, the foley catheter was removed and our client asked to use the commode. The nurse that assisted her determined that the bedside commode was too tall, not allowing our client’s feet to touch the ground; this caused significant pain and discomfort for her. Rather than adjust the height of the commode, the nurse made the decision to have our client ambulate to the bathroom without the assistance of a gait belt or another staff member. Our client attempted to ambulate to the bathroom using a rolling walker with the nurse walking behind her. Although the nurse should have instructed our client to pivot on her strong, non-operative leg, while staying contact with our client on her weak side, instead, the nurse stood in the doorway between the room and the bathroom and allowed our client to attempt to sit on the toilet on her own. When she attempted to turn and pivot to sit on the toilet, without the help of the nurse, she lost her balance from her weakened leg and fell into the shower striking her head on the soap dish. The nurse was not able to prevent or decrease the severity of our client’s injury because she was too far away from our client to render the proper assistance.
Our client’s fall resulted in an immediate severe headache associated with swelling to the back of her head. She continued to suffer with unrelieved headache pain and numbness of her face, tongue, and lips. Our client sought treatment with a neurologist for her continued pain and numbness. The neurologist diagnosed her with trigeminal neuralgia, which he attributed to the fall. Our client now lives with daily pain and numbness in her face. Todd Townsley was able to reach a satisfactory settlement for this client.