Medline Portable Bed Rail Recall Issued Over Entrapment, Asphyxiation Risks After Two Deaths

CPSC established new safety standards for portable bed rails last year, following 300 deaths linked to dangerous and defective designs

More than 1.5 million portable bed rails are being recalled, following the deaths of at least two patients who became entangled in them.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced the Medline Bed Assist Bar portable bed rail recall on May 30, highlighting long-held safety concerns over the devices, which have been linked to entrapment, asphyxiation and death risks for years.

According to the recall notice, two older users died after becoming entrapped in the bed rails and suffering asphyxiation. The first death occurred in July 2019, involving a patient at an Iowa nursing home. The second involved a patient at a residential care facility in South Carolina.

The CPSC warns that users can become entrapped within the bed rail or between the bed rail and the side of the mattress. This can cause a patient to suffer asphyxiation.

The bed rails pose a serious entrapment hazard to patients and can cause asphyxiation and death, according to the CPSC.

Bed Rail Safety Concerns

Adult bed rails are marketed for the purpose of keeping elderly family members safe from accidentally rolling off the side of the bed and injuring themselves. However, there have been a number of massive portable bed rail recalls issued in recent years, due to design problems which have allowed a dangerous gap to be created between the rail and mattress, allowing elderly or ill individuals to become trapped and suffocate.

The problems led to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issuing a safety warning in 2013, urging caution when using portable bed rails due to the inherent risks in the design.

The CPSC has issued recalls and warnings for several brands of bed rails since, including a LumaRail recall issued in February 2023 after at least one entrapment death. Several months later, in July, the CPSC issued new bed rail safety standards, noting that data linked portable bed rails to 284 deaths from 2003 to 2021.

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The new recall includes 1.5 million units and involves two models of Medline’s Bed Assist Bar adult portable bed rails, including models designated MDS6800BA and MDS6800BAH, which are identical but sold either individually or in cases of three.

The bed rails are made of black metal tubing with a rounded black foam rubber grip handle and a fabric pouch. “Medline” and the model number are printed on a label located on the support frame of the bed rail near the vertical portion of the bed rail.

The bed rails were sold from July 2009 through March 2024 for $32 to $64 through Medline’s websites, Medline.com, and at home.medline.com, as well as major online retailers, including Amazon and Walmart, online pharmacies, including CVS.com and Walgreens.com, and online medical supply stores nationwide, including Cascade Healthcare Solutions and Magic Medical.

The products were manufactured in China. More than 1.5 million were sold in the United States and about 5,500 units were sold in Canada.

The CPSC recommends consumers stop using the affected bed rails immediately and contact Medline for a refund. Consumers can contact Medline at 866-359-1704.

Injuries and incidents should be reported to the CPSC at www.SaferProducts.gov.

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