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Deaths from bed handles prompt recall of faulty medical device

From the beginning of 2003 through the end of 2012, there were 174 deaths related to portable bed rails for adults. More than 80 percent of the victims were at least 60 years of age. Since 1995, roughly 550 deaths have occurred due to incidents involving bed rails. West Virginia residents may be interested in knowing that one company is recalling hundreds of thousands of its bed rails that are now deemed a faulty medical device.

Three women died as a result of bed handles manufactured by a company called Bed Handles. More than 113,000 of the bed handle devices are now being recalled. One of the three women who died was disabled and another was an elderly woman. There was no information other than the city where she died for the third woman.

All three women died after somehow becoming trapped between the bed handles and the mattress on the bed. Reportedly, it isn't uncommon for the bed handles to move when safety retention straps are not used. It can create a gap that causes the patient to become entangled and trapped, potentially leading to the patient's death.

The medical devices were sold from Jan. 1994 through the end of 2007. They were sold through home and health care brochures. They were also sold at numerous stores that marketed medical and home health care equipment.

Manufacturers that allow a faulty medical device to be sold on the market endanger consumers. When a death in West Virginia results, surviving family members may choose to pursue a products liability claim by filing a wrongful death lawsuit against those entities in the supply chain. If negligence is documented before the court, a judgment for monetary damages may ease any financial burden that was left behind due to a loved one's untimely death.

Source: The New York Times, "Safety Commission Recalls Bed Handles After Deaths", Ron Nixon, May 21, 2014

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