Max DeVries, 61, was scheduled for a lumbar drain replacement at St. Joseph’s Hospital, St. Paul, Minnesota, following a stroke. While under sedation the patient rolled off the operating table, hit his head on the floor, and suffered acute and significant bleeding.

The head blow was at the same spot where doctors had earlier removed part of his skull to alleviate inflammation of the brain.

The patient was taken to have a computed tomography (CT) scan of his brain and then placed in an intensive care unit. DeVries eventually died from a massive stroke on April 13th. His family contend that the fall and its subsequent injury directly caused or contributed to his death.

DeVries’ son said his father was under anesthesia when he fell.

DeVries’ family has filed a lawsuit against St. Joseph’s Hospital at Ramsey County District Court for failing to use proper patient restraining equipment. The family’s legal representative is attorney Robert Hajek.

The family accuses the hospital of lacking appropriate facilities and equipment to operate on obese/overweight patients. They say that the tables were not wide enough, and that the restraining straps were of the wrong size for the patient.

DeVries weighed 330 pounds and was 5ft5inches tall.

The family say that hospital staff told them the straps were not strong enough to restrain the patient.

The suit states that the patient’s weight is not abnormal or unusual for stroke patients.

In a statement, St. Joseph’s Hospital said:

St. Joseph’s Hospital and HealthEast Care System take this situation and this family’s concerns very seriously. We extend sincere sympathy to the family of Max DeVries. State and federal patient privacy laws prohibit St. Joseph’s Hospital and HealthEast from providing information about a patient’s care. St. Joseph’s Hospital and HealthEast Care System have a strong commitment to patient safety and have been nationally recognized for providing the highest quality patient care. When there are patient safety concerns, we always conduct a thorough internal investigation to ensure that our processes meet rigorous standards for safety and implement improvements that we believe will advance safety.

Written by Christian Nordqvist