It started with a broken finger. It’s not clear how the elderly woman’s finger came to be broken, but it was clearly not treated properly.
As a resident of a state-run nursing home providing around-the-clock care, that was the one thing she should have been able to count on.
But when she was taken to an orthopedic surgeon some five days after the fracture occurred, the doctor noted the bandage was tightly wrapped with 4 to 5 bandages. No fingers were exposed, and the wrapping was so tight, the doctor would later say, “Only God could have removed it.”
As the surgeon cut away the bandages, it was found that not only was the splint improperly placed, the hand was effectively mummified. Further, it was obviously gangrenous. Doctors were given no choice but to amputate the woman’s hand.
A detailed review of the incident was completed by the state health department three years ago. Now, two registered nurses and five licensed practical nurses are facing criminal charges. Specifically, they are accused of endangering the welfare of a disabled person (criminal neglect). One is alleged to have tampered with or falsified records.
It was not stated in news reports whether the victim or her family planned to file civil litigation on the matter, but it appears obvious there are ample grounds on which to do so, potentially on several legal theories.
Negligence occurs when a duty of care is breached, thereby causing injury to another. Most nursing home abuse cases involve claims of negligence. Some examples of negligence claims in nursing homes might include:
- Negligent hiring (hiring a worker who is unqualified to provide the level of care with which they are tasked or who have violent criminal backgrounds).
- Negligent supervision (failing to make sure residents are properly watched so that they are not a danger to themselves or others).
- Failure to keep the property reasonably safe, clean and free of hazards.
But for the medical professionals who oversee patient care at these facilities may also be sued under a theory of negligence known as medical malpractice. This requires a higher burden of proof than other cases.
In medical malpractice claims against nursing home employees, it is necessary to show the defendants breached the applicable standard of care for their position, given the circumstances. When sub-standard care is given to a patient who then suffers injury as a result, both the individual health care professionals as well as the agency that employed them may be sued for medical malpractice.
It’s important that your nursing home negligence lawyer file the right type of claim because each type has different requirements in terms of the statute of limitations (medical malpractice claims must be brought in two years, versus personal injury claims, which can be brought within four years), as well as notice and filing requirements. If the wrong type of claim is filed, one may be forever barred from bringing the correct type of claim due to these differences.
Our loved ones have the right to expect that they will receive adequate medical care – whether we’re talking about something as simple as a broken finger, or something more complex.
If you worry your loved one may have suffered permanent damage as a result of improper medical care at a nursing home, call us today to learn more about how we can help.
Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights.
State: nurse neglect leads to amputation, May 19, 2015, By Joseph P. Smith, The Daily Journal
More Blog Entries:
Florida Lawmakers Pass New Law to Protect Assisted Living Facility Patients, May 24, 2015, Hollywood Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog