Woman Dies After Falling From Unsecured Lift

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – Two employees of a Lincoln County health center are accused of neglect after a woman fell and died from a mechanical lift when she wasn’t properly strapped in, according to charges filed Friday by the Minnesota Department of Health.

The two were workers at the Divine Providence Health Center in Ivanhoe.

According to the charges, the resident of the facility was a vulnerable adult who had been there for several years after suffering a stroke. The woman required two staff members for all care, including medical transfers.

At about 3:15 p.m. on March 15, the woman was being transferred by a full body lift from a mechanical lift to a bed by two nursing assistants who were operating the lift, according to the complaint. Neither nursing assistant made sure that all four straps being used for the lift had the woman secured in place. When the patient was suspended about chest high in the air, she fell from the sling head-first onto the floor.

Her upper body also hit the metal framing of the lift, causing several head injuries. The woman’s condition deteriorated while she was in a hospital from March 18 to March 26. She died on March 29, with the cause being the fall from the lift.

Both nursing assistants were reprimanded with written warnings for failing to follow proper procedures during medical transfers and re-trained on using the mechanical lift. The complaint shows no record of termination for either employee.


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