The Food and Drug Administration recently issued some guidelines to try to end
Known but not uncommon causes of death in nursing homes and hospitals: trapping mountain beans in hospital beds.
Bedrail is a simple metal device that should help.
The patient pulls himself up using a railing to prevent the patient from rolling down the bed.
But sometimes patients-
Particularly weak elderly with dementia or Alzheimer\'s disease-
It may be trapped between the bedspread and the mattress, which may result in serious injury or even death.
About 350 kilometers
The death has been reported to the FDA since 1995. Thirty-
Five people have reportedly died in the past year and a half.
But federal officials say they think these are only a small percentage of the actual casualties.
Larry Kessler, director of the FDA\'s Office of Science and Engineering Laboratories, said many nursing homes and hospitals did not know they would report such injuries.
Others may not report these incidents because they are afraid of legal responsibility or do not want to cause bad publicity when these deaths occur.
\"People shouldn\'t die like this,\" Kessler said . \" He has reviewed the reports of these deaths.
\"They are very serious and we believe they can be prevented to a large extent.
\"The FDA guidelines released tell hospitals and nursing homes how complex calculations can be performed to check whether beds are assembled correctly.
The problem, Kessler said, was \"sometimes caused by the assembly of beds by people in different parts\" who led federal officials, industry reps, consumer groups
Group officials and others who put forward new instructions. If bed parts --
Mattresses, railings and frames, for example--
Kessler said it came from different companies and could lead to dangerous gaps in the assembly process.
\"A weak person may slip his or her head or arm into one of the gaps and may not be able to extricate himself, which is where he is injured or dead,\" he said . \".
Kessler said there was almost no problem when the beds were placed correctly.
\"We don\'t believe the hospital bed is deadly,\" he said . \"
\"On average, we don\'t think it\'s an unsafe environment.
Just because there are millions or more people lying in sick beds every day in this country, just a few of them are weak and lost, and one bed can cause problems, it\'s a bit dangerous.
This is a rare event, but it is worth worrying about.
\"Too few guides, too late \'?
But Steven Miles says the new FDA guidelines are not enough.
Miles, a professor at the University of Minnesota\'s Center for Bioethics, was one of the first to notice people dying after being caught by a transvestite.
The FDA\'s response is too small, too late, he said.
\"I think it\'s patience now, and the family should be careful,\" Miles said . \".
Even with new guidelines, patients cannot rely on hospitals and nursing homes to catch dangerous beds, he said.
If you have loved ones in a hospital or nursing department, what can patients and family do
Miles says there is a family bed with a bedspread that checks the gap between the mattress, bed frame and the bedspread.
\"I personally looked at the bed to see if by pushing the mattress to the far end of the bed they could make a gap large enough to put four fingers between the gap and the railing, he suggested.
\"The gap is too big if you can.
\"Many hospitals and nursing homes have stopped using mountain beans.
Initially, they were used to restrain patients from getting up.
But Miles says many hospitals have found that they are not doing well in safely limiting patients.
The administrator also found that confused patients sometimes try to get over the rails, which is more dangerous.
As nursing homes and hospitals reduce their use of bedrail, more of this equipment will eventually appear in people\'s homes.
Old bed, Miles said. -
Most likely unsafe. -
It\'s almost over at home.
\"Rent a bed for the disabled lover who is coming home, and usually they pull some railings from the shelf;
They will pull the mattress off the shelf.
\"They will throw it on the bed and put it together,\" Miles said . \".
\"They will not test the size of these gaps.
They then ship it to the end user without any labels about these dangers.
\"Again, this means that it is the responsibility of the family members to check whether the mattress is close to the bed frame and the bed cover.
The new FDA regulations are too late for Bud Flynn.
His mother, Frances Flynn, died in a fish fighting accident in May 2004.
Flynn received a call from his mother at a nursing home in Sacramento, California.
Tell him she died at night.
\"This is the way to explain to me: my mom died at night,\" Flynn recalls . \".
\"So I thought she was doing well.
\"Another call came a few days later.
\"The funeral director called my wife and said the coroner\'s office needed to turn my mom around for an autopsy because her death was not a normal death ---
\"That means an accident,\" Flynn said . \".
At this time, Flynn found that his mother\'s death was completely peaceful.
According to the Sacramento County coroner, the official cause of death was a sudden cardiac arrest.
When Frances Flynn\'s body was stuck between her bedspread and the mattress, she panicked and died.
Flynn filed a lawsuit against his mother\'s nursing home, saying death should be stopped.
\"The image of my mom stuck on this mattress is a terrible thing,\" he said . \".
\"It\'s not a good way to leave the world.