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Can a medically induced coma increase fall risk?

If your loved one has a serious illness or life-altering injury, doctors may recommend placing him or her into a medically induced coma. This procedure is common when the body requires time to recover. It also may help doctors prevent additional injuries during treatment.

According to the Mayo Clinic, doctors occasionally use anesthetic drugs to induce comas as part of comprehensive treatment plans. During a medically induced coma, the patient remains unconscious under close supervision. Still, your loved one may have a heightened risk of falling after he or she comes out of a medically induced coma.

Muscular atrophy

Even if your loved one is not particularly active, he or she uses major muscle groups every single day. This keeps muscles strong. During a medically induced coma, though, your loved one’s muscles are likely to atrophy. Even after a short coma, your relative simply may not have the strength to stand, walk or even sit without assistance.

Mental confusion

When doctors decide to bring patients out of medically induced comas, they typically decrease anesthesia over a span of hours or days. During this time, your loved one may experience mental confusion. This confusion may persist even after no anesthesia remains in his or her system. Put simply, if your relative tries to stand or walk while experiencing mental confusion, he or she may slip, trip or fall.

Underlying illnesses or injuries

Patients usually do not recover fully during their induced comas, as doctors only use medically induced comas during critical times. Therefore, after awakening, your loved in is likely to continue to suffer from the underlying illness or injury. If this illness or injury affects balance or movement, your relative may suffer additional injuries in a slip-and-fall accident.

Ultimately, if the staff at the hospital fails to monitor your relative, he or she may be eligible for substantial financial compensation for any fall-related injuries.