Oregon Hospitals Take Steps to Protect Newborns from Fall Injuries

According to doctors and nurses at Providence Health & Services, newborns at Oregon hospitals appear to be at risk of falling. Hospital records from Providence Hospitals indicate that 20 fall accidents involving newborns occur each year in Oregon hospitals—a figure that some researchers consider a low estimate because parents and hospital staffers don’t always report newborn falls when they occur.

In a scientific study published in the Journal of Pediatrics, reporters noted that some 600 to 700 newborn falls occur at US hospitals each year. Examples of newborn falls include babies:

• Falling out of bassinets while they are being rolled down a hallway or onto an elevator.
• Dropping onto the floor during delivery.
• Slipping through the delivering doctor’s hands and onto the ground.
• Falling out of a sleeping parent’s arms.

While the report doesn’t cite any specific fall accidents at hospitals that resulted in infants sustaining serious injuries, one newborn did sustain a skull fracture. However, a 2003 article on the Whitaker Foundation’s Web site found that babies are vulnerable to traumatic brain injuries during falls when the head hits a hard surface. Traumatic brain injuries also happen to be one of the leading causes of childhood deaths.

Dr. Robert Christensen and his colleagues at Intermountain Healthcare says that newborn falls are preventable and that there are measures that hospitals can take to prevent fall accidents from happening. For example, ordering nurses to regularly check on infants that are being held by parents during the night, changing bed designs to minimize fall accidents, and modifying sedative drug use by new mothers.

Oregon hospitals, doctors, and nurses are supposed to provide newborns with the proper care following delivery. This includes implementing the proper safety procedures so that injury accidents do not happen. If medical error, negligence, or carelessness results in serious injuries to your son or daughter, you may have grounds to file an Oregon medical malpractice claim or lawsuit.

Other injuries to newborns that may be grounds for medical malpractice include:

• Birthing injuries
• Forcep injuries
• Facial paralysis
• Brachial palsy
• Cerebral palsy
• Injuries caused by heparin (or another drug) overdose
• Fractures during labor
• Wrongful death
Hospitals look into ways to prevent newborn falls, The Oregonian, November 19, 2008
Infants More Vulnerable to Serious Brain Injury From Falling Than Previously Thought, The Whitaker Foundation, August 12, 2003
Related Web Resources:

Newborn Injuries, Family Practice Notebook
Birth Injuries


Throughout Oregon, Portland Personal Injury Attorney Matthew D. Kaplan handles cases involving injuries to minors. Please contact Matthew D. Kaplan, Attorney at Law to request your free consultation.