Federal safety regulators have issued a reminder to the public regarding a previous recall of portable adult bed handles, which pose substantial risk of injury and death toward elderly and disabled individuals.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports at least four women have died using the L-shaped devices manufactured by Bed Handles Inc., a Missouri company. Some 113,000 of the devices were recalled back in May 2014 due to serious risk of entrapment, strangulation and death.
Three cases were reported in the initial reannouncement, and then a fourth was recently added to the figure.
However, there has been less than a 1 percent response rate for the recall, which is why the CPSC decided to reannounce the recall – to make sure word was getting to those who purchased any devices that may still be in use. These devices are used in care facilities to assist patients in pulling themselves up, helping themselves out of bed or keeping them from falling out.
As our Hollywood nursing home injury attorneys know, facilities that continue to use dangerous devices – particularly after those devices have been recalled – may themselves by liable for negligence. For someone who suffers serious injury or loved ones of those killed due to use of one of these devices, that would mean potential litigation against not only the product manufacturer, but also the facility responsible for caretaking.
Bed rail hazards are not especially new. A New York Times report from 2012 detailed how 150 (mostly older) adults died after becoming trapped in bed rails between 2003 and 2012. During that same time frame, some 36,000 (again, mostly older) adults were treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries relating to bed rails. That’s approximately 4,000 people each year. Those are only the cases about which we know. There could be many more that are never reported, and such issues aren’t always listed as a cause of death by coroners and nursing homes, or as a cause of injury by doctors in emergency rooms.
Those who study the issue say the problems are avoidable. Many nursing homes continue to use older model bed rails that we now know are unsafe. Some also continue to use models like these that were specifically recalled.
According to the CPSC release, the devices were sold in drug stores, medical equipment stores, home health care stores, health care catalogs and online for about $100 between 1994 and 2007. All were made in the U.S.
The fatal cases about which we know involving these devices are:
- An 81-year-old Canadian woman in Vancouver
- A 41-year-old disabled woman who died in a Washington group home
- An elderly woman (age unknown) who died in a Minnesota assisted living facility
- A 90-year-old woman in a senior residence in California died after being entrapped in the gap between the mattress and bed handle.
The detailed circumstances of the first three incidents weren’t immediately available.
We do know that since experts first began warning of the dangers of adult bed rails in 1995, some 550 people have died. In just 2011 alone, 27 deaths were attributed to dangerous bed rails.
The three models subject to the recall were the Original Bed Assistant, the Travel Handles and the Adjustable Bedside Assistant.
Federal law prohibits anyone from selling products that were subject to a publicly-announced recall. And again, nursing homes that continue to use recalled and unsafe medical products may be opening themselves up to liability as well.
Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.
Bed Handles Inc. Reannounces Recall of Adult Portable Bed Handles Due to Serious Entrapment and Strangulation Hazards; Less Than 1 Percent Response Rate to Recall, Oct. 7, 2015, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
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