Articles Tagged with nursing home abuse attorney

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The question of whether individual nursing homes or state law should allow “hidden” cameras is being raised again in light of footage captured by the family of a 94-year-old resident of a Pompano Beach facility.nursing home abuse

According to ABC Local 10 News, a certified nursing assistant (CNA) is seen struggling to get the man (who has dementia) off the bed. In the process, she causes him to fall into a chair. She then hits him on the head. In another clip, a CNA is seeing pouring mouthwash all over the man. This footage was especially telling because mouthwash contains alcohol. Alcohol dries out the skin, which can cause or exacerbate skin ulcers and bed sores. This particular individual suffered from stage three bedsores, and ultimately died from them, his family’s attorney now says. They are suing for wrongful death.

The man’s daughter said it was the camera that confirmed her worst fears. As her attorney noted, 99 percent of the time, the nursing home will deny any maltreatment. Absent any proof, some cases can be difficult to pursue, which makes the hidden camera evidence all the more valuable. It serves as undeniable proof of wrongdoing.  Continue reading →

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One of the greatest impediments to preventing nursing home abuse is the culture of secrecy in which so many facilities operate. An increasing number are for-profit ventures, too often concerned more about their bottom line than the health and well-being of the patients they serve. Reports or solid evidence of abuse has the potential to threaten those profits, giving administrators an incentive to quiet these reports before they surface. nursing home abuse

We see evidence of this in employment action lawsuits that have arisen in recent years. A recent example was reported in Illinois, where McKnights Long Term Care News reports a nurse was awarded $5.2 million after her termination from a nursing home, shortly following her reporting of alleged patient abuse.

Plaintiff in that case was a licensed practical nurse (LPN) at a nursing home in late 2012 when she was fired by her employer, a for-profit nursing home company that operates nearly 55 facilities. She alleged she was terminated because she refused to follow orders by the director of the nursing home to “drop a pill,” which was understood to mean give a double dose of anti-anxiety medications to patients who were agitated. The LPN also alleged she had refused to omit or delete any records that contained suspicious injuries incurred by residents.  Continue reading →

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It’s a sad reality in Florida nursing home abuse cases for the person who suffered to die, whether due to frailty or age or directly because of the abuse or neglect endured. In these cases, there may be several avenues for legal action. nursing home abuse

When a person survives nursing home abuse, it’s fairly straightforward: It’s a personal injury lawsuit. Nursing home injury cases can be a little more complex than other types of torts because they sometimes stem from some medical malpractice, which could complicate matters in terms of the statute of limitations (2 years, as opposed to the 4 allowed in personal injury cases). Further, medical malpractice cases require more evidence, as well as expert witnesses.

However, things can get a bit more complicated when the person who was victimized dies. The two primary avenues for compensation are:

  • Wrongful death lawsuit;
    Survival action.

Continue reading →

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Increasingly, relatives of Florida nursing home residents are installing cameras inside the rooms of their loved ones to ensure they are receiving quality care. Fears of inadequate nursing home care and even nursing home abuse are certainly founded, as the Government Accountability Office reports a quarter of U.S. nursing homes have deficiencies that cause actual harm or have the potential to inflict serious injury or death. Further, a survey of more than a dozen states found state and federal complaint procedures lacking, meaning at-risk patients suffered abuse and neglect in silence for months. nursing home abuse lawyer

The idea of hidden cameras in nursing homes isn’t brand new, but it’s garnering renewed attention from Florida lawmakers. ABC-10 News in Broward County reports that family members of a nursing home resident in Pompano Beach installed a camera inside the room of their 94-year-old patriarch, who suffers from dementia. They were horrified at the images that returned.

The video reveals a certified nursing assistant (CNA) who is impatiently and forcefully trying to get the man to move off the bed. She pulls him, and sends him falling into a chair. She then hits him on the head. In a separate clip, the same nursing home worker is witnessed pouring mouthwash on him. Aside from the obvious cruelty of the act, the family’s nursing home abuse attorney explained it was one that ultimately proved fatal. Alcohol is a drying agent. The man reportedly was already suffering from Stage 3 pressure ulcers. Ultimately, it was those ulcers that killed him, plaintiff attorney alleges.  Continue reading →

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Most residents of nursing homes, being over the age of 65, grew up in an era without computers, let alone cell phones or social media. Yet many are fast finding themselves confronted with the ugly underbelly of these technologies, as those entrusted with their care abuse their trust, snapping and posting inappropriate, embarrassing or abusive pictures of elderly patients. nursing home abuse

This can be sexual exploitation by a caretaker, particularly if the patient’s private parts are displayed – even if the images themselves aren’t necessarily intended to be of a sexual nature. Many of the images, as reported by NPR and ProPublica investigations, are by workers who may intend to “blow off steam” from being stressed and overworked. Nonetheless, it violates the patient’s rights, and may be actionable in civil court, particularly if there is evidence the nursing home may have been informed of it and failed to take action. ProPublica identified at least three dozen cases of this happening last year, the majority of those occurring on Snapchat.

Yet another incident was reported recently, this time in Illinois. According to local news source The Pantagraph, reports two certified nursing assistants (CNAs) who were a couple snapped and shared numerous residents in photos that were both unauthorized and “inappropriate.” The images included shots of elderly individuals who were dressing, bathing, toileting and resting in bed. All of these images, according to a recent nursing home lawsuit filed, were of the residents in situations that were embarrassing or humiliating.  Continue reading →

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Several families are pursuing litigation against a South Florida nursing home after a disastrous post-hurricane evacuation resulted in more than a dozen deaths. However, in order to do so, they will face significant legal hurdles.nursing home abuse attorney

Nursing home abuse attorneys in West Palm Beach recognize that these cases are difficult, but not impossible. Although most civil injury and wrongful death cases are settled prior to trial, having an experienced litigator and trial attorney is necessary. Preparation, skill and experience are critical.

At this juncture, Bloomberg Law reports at least 10 lawsuits have been filed against the Hollywood Hills nursing home that evacuated in September, days after Hurricane Irma cut off power to the air conditioning system at the facility. Fourteen residents died. However, holding the owners of the facility responsible could prove difficult. There are several reasons for this. Continue reading →

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Elder financial abuse is a serious and growing problem in nursing homes across the country. Most often, it’s classified as an issue that occurs when a caregiver – usually a family member – takes advantage of the elderly person’s trust or position of need. However, it happens in nursing home facilities too where a company misrepresents the quality of care to patients, prospective patients, family members and government agencies that pay for this care. nursing home abuse

Recently in California, four residents living in residential care facilities owned by a single chain provider sued the company’s founder and developer, alleging fraudulent practices that exposed them to risk of injury and deprived them of necessary care.

According to the Press-Democrat, the lawsuit alleges residents were discovered on the ground, left soiled for hours at a time and at least one suffered an unexplained injury due to perpetual understaffing that amounted to fraud. The company reportedly misrepresented the care it was providing residents when it came time to collecting federal healthcare benefits for those patients. Further, the facility fees, which in some cases were $10,000 per resident per moth, were based on budgets crafted to rake in the highest profits, rather than assess the individual needs of each resident.  Continue reading →

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A recent government audit blames Medicare for failure to enforce a federal law that requires immediate notification of nursing home abuse and neglect to police.nursing home abuse

Based on preliminary results from a large sample of cases over 33 states, the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services reported that while this is just early data, immediate action was required. The IOG investigates instances of waste, fraud and abuse within the health care system. This particular audit was part of a bigger investigation, which is ongoing, and additional results are expected in the coming months. The agency released an early alert memo regarding these initial findings, prompting the Senate Finance Committee to request additional information regarding elder abuse in nursing homes. Specifically, the committee chair has requested information on whether HHS intends to reevaluate its procedures to make sure nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect is not only identified but also reported.

It’s estimated approximately 1.4 million people live in nursing homes across the country. According tot he Florida Health Care Association, there are 683 licensed nursing homes in Florida and another 3,100 assisted living facilities. The IOG report revealed there were more than 130 cases wherein emergency room records showed possible abuse – physical abuse, sexual abuse or neglect. This was over the course of a two-year-period. Of those, 28 percent – more than 1 in 4 – had no record of any report being made to local law enforcement. Continue reading →

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A $1.2 million nursing home abuse damage award was affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit after finding no reversible error by the trial court. nursing home abuse

The jury had decided the case in favor of plaintiff, who alleged negligence, negligence per se and intentional infliction of emotional distress, concluding also that defendant nursing home had acted with reckless disregard for the rights of others, resulting in a $10,000 punitive damage award tacked onto the $1.2 million in compensatory damages.

The case involved an elderly nursing home resident who was limited in her capacity for mobility and communication due to arthritis and dementia. She had lived on her own until she was 90-years-old, at which time her family arranged for her to stay at a nursing home to receive constant care. At some point, her family began to notice personal items missing from her room. When they received an unsatisfactory response from the nursing home, they installed a hidden camera in her room to get to the bottom of it. What they discovered was much worse than theft.  Continue reading →

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A $6,000-per-day penalty imposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on an Illinois nursing home was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently. The fine stemmed from a finding that the nursing home put patients in immediate jeopardy when it failed to protect them from nursing home abuse and theft. The CMS investigation also revealed the facility failed to timely report or thoroughly investigate allegations of abuse inflicted on residents, and didn’t implement policies on abuse, neglect or property theft. nursing home abuse

The appellate court ruled there was substantial evidence to support CMS’s conclusions that formed the basis for the penalty. It stemmed from a site visit by investigators with the state health department back in 2014.

There was an allegation at the time that a resident and his wife suffered emotional abuse when a female staffer approached the male resident, grabbed his face in her hands, kissed him on both cheeks and then the forehead before telling him she had always loved him. Administrators did launch an investigation into the incident, but only insofar as they questioned staff and other residents. However, they did not formally interview the resident or his wife.  Continue reading →

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