Falls: Medical Record Documentation of Patient's Report of Fall Supports Claim for Premises Liability, Court Rules

March 21, 2018 | Strategic Insights for Health System


​A lawsuit stemming from a patient fall that allegedly occurred outdoors on the defendant hospital's icy premises may proceed to trial, despite the hospital's claim that the plaintiff was unable to produce credible evidence of the fall or the circumstances surrounding the fall, concluded a Kentucky court of appeals. In so ruling, the appellate court concluded that hospital medical record documentation of a report of the fall and deposition testimony of the plaintiff's husband provided sufficient evidence to support the plaintiff's claim, and it reversed a trial court's grant of summary judgment to a hospital.

The patient was admitted to the defendant hospital with "altered mental status," dehydration, recurrent diarrhea, anemia, urinary tract infection, pneumonia, low blood pressure, and liver disease. During her admission, she went outside to smoke; she allegedly slipped on the ice and fell. After her condition "deteriorated," the hospital transferred her to a university medical...

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