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Florida Nursing Home Neglect, Mismanagement Allegedly Led to Death

The personal representative of a Florida woman who died last year in a Lakeland nursing home alleges medical complications leading to her death were preventable, the result of systematic neglect and mismanagement of the facility.

According to the lawsuit, the elderly woman suffered from a host of painful conditions she developed only after she was admitted as a resident at the facility in April 2011. She died almost exactly two years later. Among conditions she suffered at the time of her death:

  • Bedsores;
  • Urinary tract infections;
  • Jaw and eye infections;
  • Dehydration;
  • A fungal tongue infection;
  • Wound infection;
  • Drug-resistant staff infection (MRSA);
  • Sepsis.

Our West Palm Beach nursing home abuse lawyers know any one of these conditions would be serious, particularly for someone with a compromised immune system. Each would be a red flag that a nursing home resident is not receiving the level of care they should be. Taken collectively, there is a strong indication this woman not only suffered greatly in her last days, but that the staffers and administrators could have done more to prevent it.

The complaint lists as defendants current and former administrators, staffers and management companies. One of the woman’s six surviving children, acting as personal representative of her estate, filed the lawsuit alleging the facility and its staffers failed to adequately monitor the patient’s worsening signs of various infection and dehydration.

When reached for comment, a representative for the nursing home said he could not offer details of any specific case due to health privacy laws and pending litigation, but insisted patient care is a top priority.

And yet, the lawsuit paints a much grimmer picture – not just with regard to this patient, but others as well. In fact, plaintiffs accuse defendants of “civil conspiracy.” Specifically, they assert the center accepted patients with an increasingly high severity of various health conditions. Yet, they never hired more staffers to meet those greater needs. The lawsuit goes on to allege that the company listed itself as “not-for-profit,” even though it did not hold the relevant exemptions. The two management companies reportedly retained a portion of the facility’s revenues as a fee for services, which in turn meant there was incentive not to increase staffing, plaintiff alleges.

Although there is nothing inherently wrong with for-profit nursing homes, they have been associated with higher hospitalization rates, more deficiencies, lower staffing levels (particularly of registered nurses-to-patients) and fewer discharges back home. Just as an example, a 2011 report by the Government Accountability Office found for-profit nursing homes had 16 percent more deficiencies than non-profit centers.

Another report by the Government Accountability Office reported that Special Focus Facilities, or those identified as being among the poorest-performing, were more likely to be part of a chain or for-profit center.

The conditions reportedly suffered by this patient are largely preventable, or at the very least should have received early and aggressive intervention to prevent them from becoming a serious threat to her health.

Individuals who suspect loved ones are suffering as a result of nursing home abuse should contact an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer right away.

Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights.

Additional Resources:

Wrongful Death Suit Challenges Status of Not-for-Profit Nursing Home, Aug. 3, 2014, By Robin Williams Adams, The Ledger

More Blog Entries:

Heat Neglect in Florida Nursing Homes, Sept. 20, 2014, West Palm Beach Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog

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