The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), re-announced a recall on September 17 to alert caregivers to portable bed handles which may cause serious injury or even death.
The initial bed handle recall was issued in May 2014, but less than 1% of affected consumers took action. The bed handles addressed by the recall are meant to help make it easier for elderly or disabled individuals to transfer into and out of bed. These products are mostly used in nursing home and assisted living facilities, but were also sold at home health care stores and medical equipment stores to the general public.
The bed handles were made by a company based in Missouri called Bed Handles Inc. They are designed to be placed under bed mattresses so that individuals may use them for support when entering or exiting a bed. However, the 113,000 portable bed handles recalled do not feature safety retention straps and may shift out of position. This could cause a gap between the handles and a mattress, which poses the risk of entrapment, strangulation, or death. At least 3 elderly women have already died as a result of the recalled bed handles shifting out of place.
Bed handles and bed rails have been on the radar of consumer advocates and regulatory agencies for a number of years. In 2012, the FDA and CPSC conducted a joint investigation into safety concerns related to these products after being urged to do so by concerned families and consumer watchdog groups. They found that at least 150 people had died and more than 35,000 had been injured by unsafe bed rails or bed handles. The consumer group Public Citizen has called for a ban on these devices multiple times.
One woman whose mother died after being trapped by a bed rail told the New York Times in 2012 that too few people are aware of the serious risks associated with these products, “Families need to be told about the possible dangers of bed rails. Dangerous bed rails with poor design should not be allowed to stay on the market.”
Florida is well-known as a retirement destination, and the CDC says that roughly 1.4 million Floridians currently live in nursing homes or related facilities. If less than 1% of facilities using the recalled bed handles have acted to fix or remove them, that means that more than 100,000 individuals may still be in serious danger of entrapment or strangulation. Our Florida attorneys are currently working to educate families and caregivers about dangerous portable bed handles, and we are also investigating lawsuits on behalf of those who have been injured or suffered the loss of a loved one due to these dangerous products. For a free legal consultation, please contact us today.