Patient accuses hospital of negligence over fall

By Carol Ostrow | Mar 11, 2015

A woman is suing an area medical center that she claims was negligent in her February 2013 treatment.

Elizabeth Hayes filed suit Feb. 24 in Cook County Circuit Court against the University of Chicago Medical Center, doing business as the University of Chicago Hospital.

According to the complaint, Hayes was admitted to the defendant’s facility, at 5841 S. Maryland Ave., on Feb. 9, 2013, for multiple symptoms including cirrhosis, back pain, esophageal bleeding, diabetes mellitus and renal failure.

She was identified as being a fall risk patient by wearing an identifying bracelet, according to the filing that notes she also experienced edema in her lower legs, was only permitted to walk with assistance and was treated with narcotic pain medication, which increased her unsteadiness.

The defendant provided her with a 24-hour assistant due to her high fall-risk status, but discontinued the use of the attendant on March 2, when Hayes, the suit notes, was found by nursing staff on the hallway floor, causing her to fall and sustain a fractured arm.

Hayes maintains she was highly likely to be injured if left alone, and fell because the hospital failed to properly evaluate, assess and treat her, provide bed handrails or a bed alarm and staff the area.

The plaintiff seeks damages in excess of $50,000, plus attorneys’ fees and costs, and is represented by I. Peter Polansky of Polansky & Cichon in Chicago.

This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court. The details in this report come from an original complaint filed by a plaintiff. Please note that a complaint represents an accusation by a private individual, not the government. It is not an indication of guilt and represents only one side of the story.

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