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Nursing home abuse lawsuits are often filed as medical malpractice actions. That’s because the cases involve the failure of medical staffers – certified nursing assistants, registered nurses and doctors – to abide by the applicable standard of care. The reason why it is important to distinguish between medical malpractice claims and those involving general negligence is that the process for prevailing on a medical malpractice claim is far more involved. Medical malpractice lawsuits require expert witnesses willing to attest that the medical professionals who are defendants in your case did not meet the basic standards of care, and therefore breached their duty to the patient and should be accountable for resulting injuries. gavel

This is a stricter standard than general negligence.

In a recent case out of Georgia, a state appellate court has revived a lawsuit against a physician in a small-town nursing home over the treatment of a patient who died after suffering from an infection at the facility stemming from an untreated pressure sore.  Continue reading →

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Within a span of just a few months, two residents at the same facility passed away as a direct result of nursing home neglect. That’s according to a new report by state health officials in Minnesota, whose findings were reported by the Star-Tribuneelder

The two separate incidents involve neglect and failed oversight, with one person suffering fatal injuries after a staffer used the wrong lift device and failed to get the proper assistance in moving the patient. In another case, an 85-year-old woman was denied life-saving measures during a heart attack because her directive on file was overlooked.

In many cases, nursing home neglect is the result of a combination of factors, namely:

  • Lack of staff experience/ training.
  • Failure to make there are enough staffers present to take care of patients’ basic needs.
  • Failure to provide the appropriate equipment/ tools to properly care for residents.
  • Lack of proper supervision.

Continue reading →

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A woman is suing a nursing home in Virginia, alleging her 84-year-old mother was tied to a wheelchair with bed sheets and injected with a powerful narcotic drug in an effort to keep her quiet. The physical and chemical restraints forced on the elderly woman were reportedly kept in place overnight. wheelchair

Such information, if proven, would likely be a violation of criminal laws as well as the patient’s civil and resident rights. Specifically, patients have the right to be treated with dignity and respect, to be free from abuse and neglect and to be free from restraints. Nursing homes aren’t allowed to use physical restraints, such as side rails, or chemical restraints, such as drugs, to discipline patients or for the staff’s own convenience.

The Virginian-Pilot reports local police were not contacted about the case and there haven’t been any criminal charges filed. However, the state’s health department received to complaints regarding the alleged incident, indicating at least two patients were placed in restraints the nursing home. Ultimately, the department devised a correctional plan.  Continue reading →

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Two ex-workers at an Illinois nursing home are suing their former employer for allegedly firing them for their refusal to fabricate medical reports that would have documented instances of nursing home abuse and elder neglect. sad

Some of the allegations of abuse of patients cited by the workers were investigated by the state’s department of health, which ultimately cited the nursing home for a number of safety breaches that jeopardized patients’ well-being. The facility in question houses more than 300 beds and purports to serve those who are both elderly and bed-bound, as well as those who are younger and suffer from serious mental illness and substance abuse. Some of those in the younger cohort are convicted felons involved in violent crimes. One of the plaintiff workers told The Chicago-Tribune the most vulnerable residents were not protected by the facility from some of the residents who posed a threat. He called it, “dangerous.”

Although the CEO for the facility would not talk about the specifics of the lawsuit, he denied that the nursing home ever attempted to mislead state health inspectors or alter patient records. The facility insists there was never any directive to surreptitiously change patient records.  Continue reading →

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In Wetzel v. Glen St. Andrew Living Community, a federal lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division, plaintiff alleges a discriminatory denial of equal housing opportunity on the basis of her sexual orientation. Specifically, she says the housing center and its managers failed to protect her from other residents who were hostile, verbally insulting and physically abusing her on a regular basis since it became known that her life partner, now deceased, was a woman. old hands

The woman’s story was recently chronicled by The New York Times, which explained how the 69-year-old plaintiff had been grateful to find the tiny room in the senior living community after losing her life partner of 30 years to colon cancer. She battled health problems herself and didn’t have much in savings. As she began to become acquainted with other residents, she revealed she had raised her son with her partner. That information was not received well, and plaintiff almost instantly knew other residents were upset by it. Word traveled fast.

In the months that followed, she was pushed, shoved and spit on. She suffered injuries including bumps on her head, a black eye and bruising. One male resident in particular was threatened her repeatedly with violence, using obscene language and threatening to “throw you down an elevator shaft.”  Continue reading →

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There are currently nearly 1.5 million residents in nursing homes across the country. Now, with the passage of new federal rules – the most expansive update in a quarter century – those residents will have more involvement in their own care. couple

The new regulations were first proposed in 2015 by Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who advocated for a shift toward care that is “person-centered.” That includes efforts to:

  • Hasten the development of care plans;
  • Allow greater variety and flexibility in snacks and meals;
  • Improved review of residents’ drug intake;
  • Heightened security;
  • Streamlined procedures for grievances;
  • Careful review of discharges that are involuntary.

Continue reading →

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The children of the elderly woman pleaded with hospital staffers to save their mother, who was suffering from bedsores and pneumonia. The staffers had the resources. They had the tools and the equipment. What they didn’t have, they say, was permission. The woman had previously signed a do-not-resuscitate order. However, her children say the elderly woman lacked the mental capacity to sign such an order – something they tried in vain to argue with the staff as their mother was fighting for her life. She died in that hospital bed of her ailments in 2012. She was 67.hospital sign

Now, Courtroom View Network is covering the developments of the civil lawsuit filed in Texas by her children who alleged medical malpractice against the hospital, the nursing home where she lived for years, the doctor for the nursing home and the physician’s assistant there. There were five opening statements from the defense side – one for each of the five defendants, who are individually represented.

Plaintiffs’ attorney posited to jurors during opening statements that decedent died of pneumonia which was the result of bedsores which were the direct result of nursing home negligence. Further, plaintiff lawyer accused the nursing home of wrongly allowing patient to sign a “do not resuscitate” (DNR) order, and also of allowing a neighbor to have medical power of attorney – even though at that time, she suffered signs of severe mental illness.  Continue reading →

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A new report from Kaiser Health News uncovers a troubling practice that may startle many hospital patients who must be referred to nursing homes: The ones affiliated with hospitals are often some of the most poorly-rated. hospital

Nursing homes are the next step down for patients who might no longer be in critical condition, but still require additional daily care. Choosing a facility is an important decision, though, especially considering government data showing almost 40 percent of long-term nursing facilities have been cited by health inspectors over the last three years for either causing harm to a patient or operating in a way that injuries are probable. Despite this, hospital managers are reportedly failing to share objective or personal knowledge about the quality of the nursing homes to which they are referring their patients. In some cases, the report indicates, managers are actually pushing patients to the facilities associated with the hospitals, even when they know there are alternatives that are comparable or better.

Nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect isn’t disclosed to prospective patients and family members by the hospital managers, even when they know about it. A spokesman for the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform recently noted that even some of the most poorly-rated nursing homes are still packed because hospitals keep sending their patients there.  Continue reading →

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The family of a woman who died recently at a nursing home in New York after testing positive for Legionella now say they intend to sue the facility. doctor

The 86-year-old woman died in late October, just days after her son was told she had contracted the bacteria, which causes Legionnaires’ disease. At the time, the patient had reportedly been battling several bouts of what was though to be pneumonia. She was hospitalized several times, with the hospital finally releasing her back to the nursing home with regrets there was “nothing else they could do for her.”

Plaintiff, through his attorney, expressed outrage to staff writers at the Saratogian that so little attention is paid to this serious problem in nursing homes. If there were an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease in schools or workplaces, there would be outrage. Instead, it seems nursing homes too often get a pass for failure to prevent the spread of infections disease and harmful bacteria. Too often, it probably goes unnoticed. But in this case, it was known and there were no repercussions, until plaintiff filed this lawsuit. There were four reported cases of the disease just at this one facility at the same time, including three patients and one staffer. The health department is conducting an investigation to determine the exact source of the outbreak.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Legionella is a type of bacterium that lives in freshwater environments, such as lakes and streams. However, it can become a health concern when it grows and then spreads to human water systems, such as hot tubs, plumbing systems, hot water tanks/ heaters, cooling towers or decorative fountains. It grows the best in warm water. Contaminated water is breathed in through small droplets in the air. It can also sometimes be spread when contaminated drinking water “goes down the wrong pipe,” and makes its way to the lungs rather than the digestive track.  Continue reading →

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A widow is suing the nursing home where her husband, a patient, died last year after his clothes caught fire when he was smoking on the balcony, has filed a nursing home negligence lawsuit, alleging both the facility and the county are responsible for violating federal regulations, resulting in her husband’s death. smoke

Plaintiff’s attorney explained to the Philly Voice that decedent had been diagnosed with a number of diseases and ailments that necessitated assistance with many basic tasks. Yet, he was allowed to smoke unsupervised on the day of his death. Records show plaintiff was being treated for Parkinson’s disease, brain disease and bipolar disorder. He needed help to eat, dress and bathe. On the day of the fire, he was smoking a cigarette alone on a balcony at the facility, when his clothing caught fire. He was almost immediately engulfed in flames. He was seriously injured and died about a month later of those injuries, after enduring tremendous pain and suffering.

Smoking in nursing homes is a hot-button issue. Although cigarette smoking is becoming less prevalent in younger generations, thanks to education and awareness campaigns that accurately warn of the danger, older generations didn’t have that benefit – or often the same restrictions. Many long-time smokers may be in poor health, but they remain passionate about their right to smoke – and that doesn’t necessarily change just because they have entered a nursing home. Every center may have varying policies, but those that do allow smoking by residents have a duty not only to protect the smokers, but to balance those rights with the health and safety of other residents and staffers.  Continue reading →

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