Collapsing hospital trolley claims the life of elderly patient

Date: Jan 18, 2012

The busy nature of the medical industry has long been recognised by compensation lawyers as potentially adding to the dangers faced by patients.

As such, the professional staff members who populate hospitals and clinics receive extensive training on proper workplace procedures and are well versed in basic manoeuvres such as transferring individuals from ward to ward.

Not only is there a large amount of education needed, but the experience acquired through repeated operations – such as moving patients from a wheelchair to a bed or administering an intravenous drip – soon become second nature to these professional practitioners.

So it always comes as a shock when an accident occurs on the premises of a hospital that results in the death of someone in the care of medically-trained staff members.

An example of this is the case on January 16 of an 85-year-old woman who was killed after the side of the gurney she was lying on gave way and collapsed.

The patient then fell off the mobile bath trolley and onto the hard hospital floor – striking her head in the process and sustaining severe cranial injuries.

According to reports the victim died shortly after the initial impact – around 13:10.

The Victorian health and safety commission WorkSafe has launched an investigation into the accident, with investigator visiting the hospital in question on January 17.

A spokeswoman for the health and safety department told the Sydney Morning Herald on January 18 that a report would also need to be prepared for the coroner's office.

"We will be looking at the actual trolley, the current procedures (at the hospital) and the maintenance," asserted the spokeswoman.

The spokeswoman was unable to provide any further details on the nature of neither the accident nor the reason for the victim's visit to the medical institution.

Acting chief executive of the hospital's parent company Wimmera Health Care Group Don McRae told reporters of his sincere sadness over the "tragic" event but that he was unable to comment on the exact nature of the case.

"It's in the hands of the coroner so it’s not really appropriate to comment any more at this time," said McRae.

"‘What we would like to do is offer our sincere condolences to the family."

The victim is understood to have been in the care of a nearby nursing home and may have been suffering from an age-related mental illness.

While the accident itself took place while the woman was in the care of healthcare professionals, this case is not related to medical negligence and is more likely to receive the attentions of a personal injury lawyer.

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