The Law Office of Paul Mankin

Top 5 Causes of Hospital Slip and Falls

A slip and fall can occur at any point, and for multiple reasons. Whether you are just a visitor to a facility, or have been admitted to the hospital for an extended problem, the possibility of an accident occurring will always be present.

This is even true within the facility grounds of hospitals, even when it is deemed as well-kept and secure. Although hospitals are generally well-maintained and kept in pristine conditions, they are still susceptible to basic issues that may occur without warning. These are the top five causes that you should be cautious of, as well as how to avoid these situations in the future.

Number 5 – Inadequate Lighting of Facility

Inadequate lighting of the facility can lead to a rise in cases of slips and falls by both patients and visitors. Inadequate lighting refers to poor and underlit situations, whether inside or outside the facility. Such situations can be seen in examples like:

  • Poorly lit hallways
  • Low lighting in patient rooms
  • Few to no parking lot lights

In many of these situations, they can be fixed with a quick change of a lightbulb or upping the brightness on the lights. However, in situations such as an improper architectural setup, where there were not enough lights installed to begin with, the chances of an incident occurring will increase in direct proportions.

In these situations, it is advised to take adequate precautions in these areas. Walk slowly, and make sure to look for guidance assistance equipment when available. Things like hand-rails and signs will be able to allow you to navigate your way through the facility in a regular pattern. However, these are only safety measures that you are able to employ, and does not eliminate the danger factor of the facility being left unlit in some cases.

Number 4 – Weather Conditions (Ice/Snow)

Weather conditions refers to the dangerous situations that can occur with elemental variances. Just as the weather can be extremely unpredictable, the conditions that beset a hospital may not be able to be dealt with immediately.

Although situations such as a tornado or hurricane are a possibility for a hospital to deal with, the most common is ice and snow forming during the winter along the perimeters and grounds of a hospital. Ice and snow buildup can be detrimental when attempting to keep patients safe when leaving or entering the facility in question. Slips on ice can also cause much more fatal damage than at other points, as the surface may have unseen vulnerabilities.

In such situations, the blame would be on the hospital in general for not properly clearing out the buildup effectively and efficiently. Things such as not having staff or a company clear snow and ice properly in a parking lot can lead to parking lot slips and falls with massive vehicles, which can lead to excess claims.

Number 3 – Walking Surface Irregularities

Walking surface irregularities refers to a surface that was improperly placed or built on the facility grounds. This includes cement walkways, pavements, and floors inside and outside of the main building.

Walking surfaces can be broken into two different categories: Indoors and Outdoors. Indoors refers to items such as the floors of the hospital, bathroom pathways, and hallways that may connect the wings of a hospital as well. Instances of irregularities in indoor walking surfaces can be a tile being upended due to improper placement, or an unwanted slant in a surface due to unstable pavements.

Outdoors refers to items such as parking lot walkways, parking garages, and outdoor facilities, such as a garden or open-air gathering spot on hospital grounds. Irregularities that may occur at these areas are possible cement fractures and cracks, unstable tiles or rocks being laid, and bumps or potholes being worn over time.

In most instances, these are known issues that have occurred over time, and just have not been taken care of. As such, they can be easily identified as the cause of a slip and fall accident.

Number 2 – Poor Drainage Systems

When talking about Poor Drainage Systems, this refers to both indoor and outdoor facilities not being able to drain and regulate the flow of liquids and other such items within their grounds. If left unchecked, they can create massive and sometimes unnoticed hazard zones that can lead to falls and slips.

A few examples of a poor drainage system would be outside water and sewage drains being backed up consistently, and flooding occurring around the facility. Inside a hospital, a sign of poor drainage systems may be a leaking ceiling, or consistent damp floors. Flooding within the bathrooms or shower areas can also be symptoms of a poor drainage system not being corrected quickly enough.

A poor drainage system may also have unseen effects on the hospital. Improper drainage or flow through a hospital may result in a leak within the walls and grounds of the hospital. This may result in the foundation becoming unstable and extremely hazardous, which may affect the structural integrity of the building.

Number 1 – Contamination on the Floor

Taking priority and at the height of the possible reasons for a possible slip and fall incident within a hospital is the contamination factor on floors. This can also occur both inside and outside, but has a few more dire consequences.

Contamination on the floor refers to the instances when there is some sort of spill, liquid fallout, or other such instances of extremities that have not been cleaned up. These can be contaminants such as, but are not limited to:

  • Bile or vomit
  • Medical supplies or liquids
  • Refuse or bodily fluids

Although these may seem trivial, they can lead to massive damages if not taken care of properly If items such as bile or vomit go left uncleaned, they can lead to long-term problems if you were to fall or collapse in it. Things such as a long-term disease being transferred to you through the contact of bodily fluids after a fall can be extremely fatal and damaging to your health. In terms of physical issues, medical spills can mean that there may be items such as glass shards or other sharp objects mixed in, leading to possible lacerations and infections along with a fall.