From January 2003 to September of this year, bedrails were implicated in the deaths of 155 people, according to a report just issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Of those who died, 126 victims were 60 or older.
For years, consumer safety advocates have been pushing federal regulators to study bedrail accidents and injuries; and although the study did not review bedrail designs for potential problems, many felt it was a good first step, The New York Times reported.
According to the study, 61 percent of bedrail deaths occurred at home, while another 25 percent occurred at nursing homes. Most of the deaths happened when a person’s neck or head got caught in the bedrails. From 2003 to 2011, some 37,000 people were injured in bedrail accidents, according to data gathered by the CPSC. Nearly half who died in bedrail incidents had medical problems such as heart disease, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease.
The difficulty in addressing bedrail hazards on the federal level has in many ways been a jurisdictional problem. While some bedrails might be considered medical devices, which would require oversight from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), others might be considered consumer products, which would be covered by the CPSC.
Representative Edward J. Markey (D-Mass) has called for a task force to be formed, which would include the FDA, CPSC, and the Federal Trade Commission. Markey stated, “We need a national task force dedicated to addressing any regulatory gaps and protecting these vulnerable patients from preventable bedrail injuries.”
The CPSC said it would use this data to study what steps it should take next, which might include how to educate the public and caregivers about the potential dangers of bedrails.
The defective product injury attorneys at Farah & Farah in Florida will be following this story as it progresses. If you’ve had a loved one who has been injured, or has died, as a result of defective or dangerous bed rails, call us at (800) 533-3555 or contact us online to find out what your legal options might be. We’re here to help you and your family.