Paralysis Due to a Wheelchair Mishap During Medical Transportation

This case study examines an incident where an elderly individual was severely injured due to alleged negligence in non-emergency medical transportation.

ByWendy Ketner, M.D.

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Published on February 6, 2024

Man on wheelchair getting in vehicle

Case Overview

This case involves an incident in which an elderly person sustained severe injuries, including paralysis after their wheelchair tipped over during transit. The incident occurred while the patient was transported to the hospital for a routine doctor's appointment from their nursing home. The shuttle driver, employed by the nursing home, is alleged to have failed to secure the wheelchair adequately.

This led to it tipping over, causing catastrophic injuries to the patient. This case revolves around determining liability and investigating potential negligence on the part of the shuttle driver or nursing home.

Questions to the Patient Transport expert and their responses

Q1

Could you provide some insight into your professional background in Non-Emergency Medical Transportation and ADA transportation standards?

I have extensive experience spanning 16 years running a non-emergency medical transport company, coupled with 13 years working in hospital transport. This extensive exposure has equipped me with a deep understanding of ADA transportation standards and industry best practices.

Q2

What are industry standards concerning the handling of wheelchairs during transit?

Industry norms explicitly state that wheelchairs must be locked and secured during transit. There are many locking mechanisms. However, irrespective of which one is used, it is imperative that the wheelchair is securely fastened before setting the vehicle in motion. Any professional involved in patient transportation must know these requirements.

Q3

Have you reviewed similar cases? If so, could you elaborate?

Yes, I have previously reviewed a case involving ambulatory transport where a patient was not properly secured during transit. My review process typically involves scrutinizing patient transport policies and evaluating training imparted to patient transportation personnel.

About the expert

This expert has an extensive background in patient transportation, with over two decades of experience specializing in labor and delivery, antepartum and postpartum care, operating rooms, and patient escort. They hold a BS in Psychology and are a member of the National Association of Healthcare Transport Management. Their professional history includes managerial roles in patient transport at various medical institutions, and they currently oversee patient escort services at a hospital and manage patient transport at a medical university.

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About the author

Wendy Ketner, M.D.

Wendy Ketner, M.D.

Dr. Wendy Ketner is a distinguished medical professional with a comprehensive background in surgery and medical research. Currently serving as the Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs at the Expert Institute, she plays a pivotal role in overseeing the organization's most important client relationships. Dr. Ketner's extensive surgical training was completed at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, where she gained hands-on experience in various general surgery procedures, including hernia repairs, cholecystectomies, appendectomies, mastectomies for breast cancer, breast reconstruction, surgical oncology, vascular surgery, and colorectal surgery. She also provided care in the surgical intensive care unit.

Her research interests have focused on post-mastectomy reconstruction and the surgical treatment of gastric cancer, including co-authoring a textbook chapter on the subject. Additionally, she has contributed to research on the percutaneous delivery of stem cells following myocardial infarction.

Dr. Ketner's educational background includes a Bachelor's degree from Yale University in Latin American Studies and a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) from SUNY Downstate College of Medicine. Moreover, she is a member of the Board of Advisors for Opollo Technologies, a fintech healthcare AI company, contributing her medical expertise to enhance healthcare technology solutions. Her role at Expert Institute involves leveraging her medical knowledge to provide insights into legal cases, underscoring her unique blend of medical and legal acumen.

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