Nursing Home Lawyer PA

Brain Bleed After a Fall in the Elderly

A brain bleed after a fall in the elderly can have devastating outcomes. When an older person is in a nursing home, these bleeds are often the result of a trauma. For example, a brain bleed may occur if a patient suffers a fall, or if a staff member transfers them incorrectly and drops them out of a mechanical lift. These injuries are often preventable when the nursing home provides competent care by trained professionals. A brain bleed after a fall in the elderly is an event that should be scrutinized to determine if negligence contributed to the injury.

What is a brain bleed?

A brain bleed is another name for a subdural hematoma. This is a type of bleed that occurs when a blood vessel tears and leaks out under the skill but outside the brain tissue. These types of bleeds are also referred to as a subdural hemorrhage or intracranial hematoma, and they are considered a traumatic brain injury.

How is a brain bleed diagnosed?

In order to diagnose a brain bleed after a fall in the elderly, the physician will do a thorough physical and neurological evaluation. The doctor will typically ask questions about how the head injury occurred, ask about the symptoms you are experiencing, and review your medications and other medical problems. They will test your neurological function by examining your memory, vision, balance, strength, and reflexes. If a brain bleed is suspected, the doctor will order a MRI or CT scan of your head.

Brain bleeds are classified as acute, subacute, or chronic.

Acute: acute brain bleeds are very serious. They occur within minutes to hours after a head injury, and the symptoms are severe.  Symptoms can include confusion, slurred speech, or sleepiness. In brain bleeds after a fall in the elderly, the pressure on the brain can build quickly. Sometimes this can be addressed through an emergency removal of the blood from the brain. However, if the bleed is not quickly diagnosed and treated, the injury can be fatal.

Subacute: These types of bleeds can also occur after a traumatic head injury, such as a fall. With subacute brain bleeds, the symptoms can take days to weeks to appear. Sometimes this injury occurs simultaneously with a concussion. Symptoms may have more gradual onset and include confusion and inability to find their words. Treatment could include surgery, or the physician may a “wait and monitor” approach.

Chronic: A common type of hematoma in the elderly, bleeding occurs slowly. Symptoms of a chronic brain bleed, such as gradual onset of confusion and cognitive decline, may not be seen for weeks or even months. A chronic hematoma can be caused by even a minor head injury and brain atrophy.

Brain bleed and wrongful deaths

Unfortunately, many elderly nursing home residents do not survive a brain bleed.  According to a study published in Science Direct, elderly individuals have a 42% mortality rate after a brain bleed. Too often, a nursing home fails to provide the proper care to prevent the fall or other accident that causes a brain bleed. The nursing home might be responsible for the resident’s brain bleed if:

  • Understaffing in the nursing home resulted in inadequate supervision
  • Un-trained or under-trained staff performed a transfer incorrectly a dropped a resident
  • Un-trained or under-trained staff used a mechanical lift (such as a Hoyer) incorrectly and dropped a resident
  • Nursing home staff failed to assess, monitor, and respond to neurological changes following a head injury

While these are a few examples, there are many other situations in which a resident a suffered a brain bleed due to facility negligence.

Can I file a lawsuit?

To learn more information about filing a lawsuit about a brain bleed after a fall in the elderly, reach out to a nursing home lawyer.  Our lawyers have extensive experience in these types of cases and offer a free consultation to review your options. Contact us today to get the expert advice you need to help your family move forward after a tragic nursing home accident that result in serious injury to your loved one.