Pennsylvania elderly at risk from bed rails

A 94-year-old Pennsylvania woman died recently after she slipped and got trapped between the railings on her bed and her mattress. The woman was living at a nursing home facility, but it is unknown how long she had been stuck before nursing home officials realized there was a problem.

While some people may think that this is an unusual accident, the risk of asphyxiation for elderly patients that use beds with railings has been known for at least 20 years. According to government data, the Food and Drug Administration has known about at least 500 similar deaths in recent years. Experts say that the elderly are particularly prone to this problem because the suffocation can lead to unconsciousness so quickly, and often these individuals are not strong enough to free themselves.

Because of the risk of these bed railings, the use of these dangerous products has gone from 75 percent to 15 percent. However, these products are still on the market and posing a risk to a vulnerable part of the overall population.

Manufactures can often be held responsible when they create a product that is a danger to Pennsylvania residents. Defective or dangerous products can affect any industry at any time and it is the consumers who suffer. Those people who have been injured — of the families of those killed — by dangerous products should understand their legal rights. These people may have the right to compensation which can help to pay for some of the damage caused by a defective products. While this compensation cannot erase the damage that has occurred, it can help ease the financial burden to people as they recover and it can help to hold a company responsible for their mistake.

Source: Trib Live, “Risk of bed rails in nursing facilities recognized years ago,” Debra Erdley, Feb. 26, 2014



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