Are Physical Rehabilitation Hospitals Safe?

By Peter DePaolis

Patients go to physical rehabilitation hospitals to recover from injuries and regain functions they may have lost. They may think the worst is over and are on their way to fully recovering. However, a report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows that sometimes, these facilities can make things worse.

According to the report, 29 percent of patients in rehab facilities suffered from the following:

  • Bedsores
  • Medication errors
  • Infections
  • Injuries resulting from the care they received at the hospital

According to doctors who reviewed Medicare cases from a large sampling of rehabilitation facilities, there were a reported 158 incidents that occurred among 417 patients. Additionally, 40 percent of these incidents were traced back to lapses in what is supposed to be routine monitoring, which led to many cases of constipation, bedsores and falls. The report goes on to say that like most medical errors, these incidents were all clearly or most likely preventable.

Medical Malpractice Can Also Include Injuries Sustained Due to Physical Rehabilitation Hospitals

Physical rehabilitation is often recommended for athletes, elderly people and post-surgical patients, all of whom usually receive physical therapy on a weekly or daily basis. These sessions are supposed to help improve strength, coordination, endurance or even reduce pain. A physical therapist has the responsibility to evaluate signs, symptoms and handle patients with care.

When physical therapists fail to do so, the negative impact on the patient can be devastating. When this happens, physical therapists can be held responsible for medical malpractice. The most common reasons for medical malpractice lawsuits brought on by physical therapy patients can include:

  • Dropping the patient
  • Leaving patients unattended while using equipment
  • Failure to supervise
  • Using poorly maintained or broken physical therapy equipment
  • Overextending joints
  • Failure to properly inform patients of risks involved with physical therapy

In some of the worst cases, it is possible for patients to sustain back injuries, strokes or spinal cord injuries as a result of physical therapist negligence. If you believe your injury was made worse due to your treatments at a physical rehabilitation hospital, an attorney can assess your rights in the situation.

How Our Virginia Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help

The personal injury attorneys at Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP help victims injured in the Virginia areas. We offer free consultations. Contact us today to speak to an experienced medical negligence attorney.


About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.