According to the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, from 2005 through 2009, the number of patient falls in hospitals which resulted in injuries that required additional treatment averaged about 1,300 a year. In 2009 alone, 602 of those falls happened in the radiology department during mammograms, computed tomography (CT scans), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI's), nuclear medicine testing, ultrasounds, and diagnostic radiology studies or x-ray.
Falls in the radiology department can happen due to a number of reasons. In 2009, 17% of the falls during a radiology procedure were due to syncopal events or fainting while standing for a study to be performed. The sudden drop in blood pressure that could lead to a fainting episode could be caused by blood pressure medications, sedatives, anti-anxiety medications, narcotics or other pain medications that were given to the patient just prior to be transported to the radiology department. Many patients who are claustrophobic are often sedated or given anti-anxiety medications prior to undergoing an MRI.
Many patients who are in the radiology department for an x-ray, CT scan or MRI are there because they have an injury to the foot, ankle, knee or hip. Those patients may be unsteady on their feet due to pain or instability of a joint and are at a higher risk of falling. Elderly patients or patients with arthritis can become unsteady on their feet once their assistive device, such as a walker or a cane, was taken away from them to perform the study.
Patients, who are lying on a radiology table, if not strapped in, may roll or fall off the table if not properly watched. Confused patients or patients under the influence of alcohol or drugs may become agitated, lose their sense of balance or try to get off of the table without assistance, leading to a fall. If a patient falls in radiology, it could lead to fractures or broken bones, internal organ damage, spinal cord injury, lacerations, or head trauma causing subdural, subarachnoid or other brain hemorrhages.
When a patient is in the radiology department, the radiology staff has the same duty as nurses and physicians in the hospital in preventing patients from falling while under their care.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury after a fall in radiology, you may be eligible for compensation. Please feel free to contact one of our experienced fall accident lawyers, doctors or nurses at (215) 866-2424 for a strictly confidential and free consultation. Our Philadelphia and New Jersey slip and fall team members have actually worked in a hospital setting and are familiar with hospital policies and procedures that other law firms may not be aware of. To date, we have had over $2 billion awarded on behalf of our injured clients.