Patient Wins $1 Million for Grisly Bedsores from Faulty Bed

A patient who fell through a kinetic therapy bed and as a result suffered gruesome bedsores and loss of his tailbone won a $1 million jury award against the bed's manufacturer.

Jim R. Walker of Tyler, Texas, was using the Triadyne TM II Critical Care Bed when he slid through the cushions and landed on a hard bed frame.

He sued a unit of the San Antonio company, Kinetic Concepts Inc. that distributed the bed which is used for kinetic therapy for critically ill patients.

Walker's attorney, Marynell Maloney, argued the bed was defective.

"We feel strongly that [Mr. Walker] suffered an unfortunate and unnecessary defect that [the company] had literally known about for 12 years," Maloney said.

According to Maloney, an engineer for the company testified during the trial that the faulty system in the bed could have been fixed for a cost of about $40 per bed, but that the company didn't take action because of "business reasons."

The jury awarded $1 million in compensatory damages to Walker for his suffering, which included a pressure sore, bone inflammation and removal of his tailbone.

The company said it was disappointed with the verdict and that the award "does not diminish our 35 year track record of improving the lives of patients in a safe and effective manner." It is deciding whether to appeal the verdict.

Sylvia Hsieh, June 18, 2013