Out of all of the products that you would expect to be recalled for dangerous reasons, the worst type of product that would come to mind would be any type of healthcare equipment. Yet, bed assist handles and bed rails were the recent subject of a recall in late December of last year.
Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare announced the recall of four different types of their Bed Assist Handle adult portable bed rails. The company issued a recall of the models after it received reports of asphyxiation deaths linked to two of the bed rails. The deaths happened in February of 2011 and February of 2015.
Which bed rails are affected by the recall?
The four recalled bed rail models are the Home Bed Assist Handle, the Bed Assist Rail with Folding Board, the Bed Assist Handle, and the Home Bed Assist Handle with Adjustable Height. The model number as well as the word “Drive” is printed on a label located on the product’s metal tubing. The bed rails were sold between 30 and 80 dollars.
The rails of the recalled models (15064, 15062, RTL15073, RTL15063-ADJ) are created out of steel tubing that comes in either white or chrome. Two particular models (RTL15063-ADJ and RTL15073) come with black non-slip padding on the grip handle and a bed frame underneath. One of the models (15062) contains a wooden board placed under the bed and attached to the grip handle.
Between October 2007 and December 2021, Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare sold almost half of a million of the bed rails at medical supply stores in the United States, and online at Amazon and Walmart. The company also sold about 119 units of the bed rails in Mexico and 68,000 units in Canada.
Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) decided to recall the portable adult rails after reports of two deaths. The recall notice from the CPSC reported that the two deaths involved a 93-year-old woman living in California and a 92-year-old man in an assisted living facility in Canada. Both cases reported that the bed rails were not properly installed to the bed, causing the victims to become trapped between the mattress and the rails.
What should I do if I have a recalled bed rail?
The CPSC requires consumers to report any related incidents to the agency at www.saferproducts.gov. The CPSC and Drive DeVilbiss also encourage patients to immediately stop using the recalled bed rails. The company also plans to issue refunds to all consumers and encourages them to contact the company to obtain their refund.
In addition to recalling these products, the CPSC plans to collaborate with the FDA, healthcare manufacturers, practitioners, and consumer representatives to incorporate safety standards that would apply for all portable bed rails. The mission of the CPSC is to protect the public against any unreasonable injuries caused by consumer products. The FDA has the responsibility of providing healthcare manufacturers with the necessary tools to identify and reduce any risks with the design of the bed rails.
What is the purpose of bed rails?
Bed rails and handles are used to assist elderly or frail patients who require additional help getting in and out of bed. The primary use of bed rails and handles is to help patients with pulling themselves up or preventing them from falling out of bed. However, rail-related accidents have increased over the years; according to the CPSC, there have been 69,000 adults who have been sent to the emergency room for rail-related injuries. From those injuries, 260 cases revolved around adult portable bed rails, including 247 fatalities. These healthcare products designed with the intent to provide safety to their patients instead have the potential to cause significant injuries.
What types of risks are associated with bed rails?
Sadly, entrapment is one of the common risks associated with the use of bed rails. When constructed properly, bed rails offer many benefits. Some include providing assistance in getting in and out of the bed, providing a sense of comfort and security, reducing the risk of falling out of bed, and providing easy access to personal care items and bed controls.
However, bed rails can also come with a substantial amount of risk. Some of these include strangulation, suffocation, serious injuries from falls, skin bruising, a sense of isolation or unnecessary restriction, and preventing patients who are able to get in and out of the bed from performing routine activities.
At Plaxen Adler Muncy, P.A., our attorneys are well-versed in product liability law, including class action lawsuits by groups of people who suffered injuries from the same product. If you were hurt by a defective product, you need our experience by your side. Call our Maryland product liability attorneys at 410-730-7737 or submit our contact form to schedule an appointment today.