Hospital Fall Case Awarded Verdict of $6.19M

When a patient is admitted to a hospital, the expectation is that the hospital will protect that patient from the risk of preventable falls, especially when the hospital’s treatment of the patient creates the fall risk. Allen Tittle’s 72-year old client was admitted to Firelands Regional Medical Center due to a newly diagnosed heart condition. He was in A-Fib, had congestive heart failure, and possibly suffered a heart attack. Because this was previously an unknown condition, he had not been on any medications for such a condition, and seven new medications were prescribed. Many of these new medications can cause side effects like dizziness, unsteadiness, confusion, lethargy, and low blood pressure. Despite these side effects making Mr. Tittle’s client a fall risk, the staff at Firelands never administered a proper fall risk assessment after giving him the new meds, like checking his gait or orthostatic blood pressure, even though it is hospital policy. 

Firelands staff had given him one of the meds, Lopressor, to lower his blood pressure shortly after orders were placed for it. This medication was to be administered every 12 hours; however, they gave him a second dose, along with some of the other new meds, less than 5 hours later. Left unsupervised, the client got out of bed and attempted to walk to the bathroom, but likely due to a drop in blood pressure leading to dizziness and unsteadiness, he fell, struck his head on the floor, and suffered a massive brain bleed. 

Mr. Tittle came to Focus Graphics to help him create an animation to show the defense and jury. Because the client was unsupervised at the time, utilizing the known information to create an accurate depiction of events was imperative. The animation itemized the new medications and their effects, showed how the fall likely occurred, and cataloged the resulting brain injury and those effects on the client. Defense had only offered $350,000 prior to the trial, and the jury returned a verdict of almost $6.2M.

“In an unwitnessed hospital fall case, there are always questions as to what caused the fall and if it was preventable. Focus Graphics, through its animation, was able to provide the visuals to help our experts put those questions to bed. I highly recommend Focus Graphics any time you are in need of an animation that answers questions that a juror may have.”

portrait of attorney Allen Tittle

~Allen Tittle, Esq., Cleveland, OH | Tittle & Perlmuter


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