Jury Verdict for Hospital in Case Where Elderly Patient Fell Multiple Times

Case Caption:  Keeling v. Wellstar Cobb Hospital, Civil Action No. 07A7005-2
Court:  State Court of Cobb County
Judge:  M. Russell Carlisle
Plaintiff’s Attorneys:   Quentin S. Seay, Thomas, Means, Gillis & Seay
Defendants’ Attorneys:  W. Curtis Anderson, Jr., Downey & Cleveland
Alleged Damages:  82-year-old woman fractured hip, fractured cheekbone, and bruises to head, face, neck, shoulder, and arm.
Verdict: Defense Verdict

An 82-year-old woman was admitted to Wellstar Cobb Hospital with heart problems after falling at home.  While in the hospital, she fell twice more.  The first fall occurred when she was left alone in her hospital room on a portable bedside toilet.  She fractured her cheekbone, and bruised her head, face, neck, arm and shoulder.  Plaintiff, the patient’s brother and guardian, alleged that the hospital knew his sister was at risk for a fall and that she should not have been left alone. The defense argued that the patient had requested privacy and that the only practical way to conduct business is to balance safety concerns with patients’ rights to privacy.  The only way to eliminate falls, the Hospital argued, would be to keep patients chained to their beds.

The woman fell again while undergoing physical therapy in the presence of two staff members.  Plaintiff alleged that she fractured her hip during the second fall, but that was disputed by the defense since the fracture was not detected until days later, after several more PT sessions.  

The jury deliberated for approximately six hours before returning a defense verdict.
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