Court summarily dismisses claim that hospital should be responsible for dementia patient's fall in bathroom
Leonora McIver sued St. John Macomb Oakland Hospital after she suffered injuries in a fall in her hospital room bathroom. She argued that the hospital's nurses had negligently left her unattended in a chair in the newly-mopped bathroom. She had been subjected to safety restraints, and the hospital initially assigned her a "sitter" when the multiple sclerosis and dementia patient exhibited signs of confusion and unsteadiness. By the time of the fall, however, these services had been discontinued.
The Court ruled that McIver's claims sounded in medical malpractice and that she had insufficient evidence to document that her fall actually resulted from being left unattended as alleged. The trial judge initially ruled that the case was one of ordinary negligence, but subsequently granted summary disposition, when McIver could not testify about the circumstances of her fall. The Court of Appeals upheld the grant of summary disposition, concluding that McIver failed to document that her chair was unstable, that the bathroom floor was wet, and that the hospital's failure to provide cleaning schedules or furniture records should delay summary disposition.