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Unnecessary Fall Lawsuit Against Sheppard Pratt in Baltimore

Lawrence v. Sheppard Pratt Health System, Inc.

Person walking with a cane This is a medical malpractice case lawsuit brought against Sheppard Pratt, a mental health provider woman in Baltimore County. A woman suffering from dementia had an awful fall that caused a hip fracture. The claim is that she was a fall risk there either was not an appropriate protocol or that protocol was not followed.

This is not a nursing home case but it is conceptually very similar. This woman’s claim was filed by her malpractice attorneys in Health Claims Arbitration on August 22, 2016. It is the 418th medical negligence lawsuit filed in Maryland in 2016. The Baltimore County Circuit Court case number is 03C16010643.

Summary of Plaintiff’s Allegations

Plaintiff is admitted to Sheppard Pratt, suffering partly from dementia. One month after her admission, she is improperly supervised and falls, striking her head on a pole and landing on the floor. She is transported to Greater Baltimore Medical Center’s (GBMC) emergency room. This occurs as a deviation from her plan of care, which states that she should only “ambulate with assistive device/wheelchair with staff only.”

At GBMC, the staff diagnoses her with a right hip fracture. This requires surgical repair. It is further discovered that plaintiff fell four additional times while in her one month stay at Sheppard Pratt.

She alleges that as a result of the nurse’s negligence, she has endured severe physical pain and suffering.

Additional Comments

  • Studies confirm what we already know intuitively: dementia is positively correlated with risk of falls.
  • No, you cannot eliminate fall risk to zero. But that is not the question in these cases. The question is whether the facility is taking the precautions that it should to best mitigate the risk. Because Sheppard Pratt has a duty in this case to implementing an appropriate fall prevention protocol specific to this woman’s needs in light of her fall risk assessment. The appropriate protocol could include hip protectors, which might have been a real difference maker in this case. But there are lots of other things that could be appropriate.
  • We do not know what exactly the woman was doing when she fell. If her protocol was that she could only ambulate with an assisted device or wheelchair and they asked her to knowingly let her walk without one, Sheppard Pratt has a real problem.


  • Baltimore County


  • Sheppard Pratt Health System, Inc.

Hospitals Where Patient was Treated

  • Greater Baltimore Medical Center


  • Failure to assess plaintiff’s fall risk and failing to develop and implement an individualized care plan to minimize her fall risk
  • Failure to have sufficient caregivers to attend to plaintiff’s activities of daily living and provide her adequate supervision
  • Failure to provide appropriate and sufficient assistance to address the health needs of plaintiff

Specific Counts Pled

  • Negligence
  • Loss of Consortium – Husband

Plaintiff’s Experts and Areas of Specialty

  • Plaintiff has not yet named an expert in this case. When possible, you always want to file your certificate or merit and supporting report with the complaint.

Getting a Lawyer for Your Malpractice Claim

If you have suffered as a result of the negligence of a doctor or medical facility, our law firm can help you. You are entitled to justice and monetary compensation for the harm that has been done, and Miller & Zois has a very long history of results in medical malpractice cases in Maryland, earning large verdicts and settlements. Call Miller & Zois today to speak to a caring medical negligence attorney who can help you, at 800-553-8082, or get a free online case review.

More Malpractice Claim Information

  • Another example broken hip case alleging failure to supervise resident malpractice case. This case resulted in a wrongful death claim.
  • Yet another fall case in a nursing home
  • Look at the potential value of medical malpractice claims in Maryland
  • Look at the value of nursing home cases in Maryland. This is probably a better way to look at this case from a settlement value standpoint because, as we talk about above, this is more analogous to a nursing home case in terms of the liability issues and a possible damage award.
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