Visitor Question

Broken Foot from Physical Therapy in Hospital…

Submitted By: Anonymous (USA)

My mother was in the hospital with a GI (Gastro Intestinal) problem and was very weak. She is 79 yrs old with several medical issues including brittle bones.

After she was well enough for rehab they moved her to the acute rehab ward. They started PT (Physical Therapy) on the 3rd day, she was doing stairs and walking with her cane.

That night when she took her shoe off she was in severe pain.

After an x-ray it was determined she had a broken bone on the outside of her foot.

They said she must have stepped wrong and it was because she has brittle bones. Well, we know that already, so don’t you think the physical therapist should have been directed as such?

Now she is home and not able to function as before because of the foot. I am beside myself. She has always taken care of herself and her home, and would have continued to be able to do so until this happened. What do you think? Does she have any recourse? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Anonymous,

You can’t blame your mother’s broken bone on the therapist. Unless you can show the therapist intentionally or negligently took some action or neglected to take some action she should have, you don’t have any legal recourse.

Your facts don’t provide any proof of the therapist’s negligence or willful intent to harm your mother. Your accusation that the therapist should have “been directed as such” makes little sense. Of course physical therapists know most 79 year old patients have brittle bones. The alternative to physical therapy would be to allow your mother to lay in bed, or sit in a chair all day.

If your mother stepped wrong there wasn’t much the therapist could have done to prevent that from happening. If you were walking with your mother could you stop her from making a misstep? Probably not. In fact most of us have sprained our ankles at one time or another. Sometimes…”Stuff happens”. The only difference is in our case is when we stepped wrong most of us only suffered sprained ankles. If we were 79 that misstep would probably have resulted in a broken bone.

If you complain to the director of the hospital you may be unknowingly putting your mother at more risk. That’s because if the therapists know attempting to help your mother could put them in jeopardy if she again missteps, they all may want to avoid being the one who will have to answer for it.

If you don’t like the manner in which they treat your mother you can complain, or you can move her into a different hospital.

Learn more here: Hospital Error

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,


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