Articles Tagged with Orlando nursing home abuse lawyer

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Financial exploitation of the elderly is a serious and growing problem in Florida, where the aging population is expanding and there are increasingly fewer resources to help protect them. A new bill being considered by both state and house representatives (SB 1562/ CS/HB 1059) has been winding its way through various committees, so far gaining unanimous support. elderly financial abuse attorney

The bill is called Exploitation of a Vulnerable Adult (as it protects primarily but not only the elderly) and would establish a cause of action for injunction for protection of adults vulnerable to exploitation, and establishes penalties for willful violations. It seems to protect vulnerable adults over 18 who are impaired in performing daily activities or in their ability to care for or protect themselves due to mental, emotional, sensory, long-term physical or developmental disabilities or dysfunctions, brain damage or infirmity due to aging.

There are currently a few existing laws that outline protections against financial abuse of the elderly. For instance, current statute gives the Florida Department of Children and Families authority to initiate investigation of abuse, neglect or exploitation reports. Further, F.S. 415.111 allows for civil remedy (a lawsuit) for vulnerable adults who have been abused, neglected or exploited to pursue litigation against any perpetrator to recover both actual and punitive damages. Guardians or a personal representative acting on behalf of the individual can also pursue such a claim. Parties who prevail may be entitled to also be compensated for attorney’s fees, costs of the action and damages. 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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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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The family of a woman who died after nursing home staff did not take action to resuscitate her when she was found unresponsive has filed a nursing home negligence lawsuit.ambulance

The lawsuit claims the nursing assistant failed to properly read the patient’s chart, and mistakenly believed it stated she did not wish to be resuscitated. However, that was not the case and the 52,-year-old resident, who was initially only supposed to be at the facility a few weeks after suffering a bad case of pneumonia. However, that stay was extended to six months after she allegedly broke her hip after falling while unattended by staffers. She already suffered from kidney disease and diabetes, and that made recovery that much slower.

Then one morning in March 2006, a nursing assistant discovered her unconscious in her bed. About one half hour later, the facility called emergency services to report a death at the site. The caller noted the woman did not wish to be resuscitated and her family was being notified. Ten minutes later, another call was placed to emergency services. This time, the staffer admitted the nursing assistant had misread the chart, and in fact, the woman had wished to be resuscitated. Those efforts were still underway when emergency responders got there. However, they declared her dead upon arrival.  Continue reading →

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A CNN Investigations report delved into the pervasive and disturbing – but hugely underreported – issue of nursing home sexual abuse. wheelchair

Noting that “it’s impossible to know” the exact number of victims who suffer this abuse, state and federal data, along with interviews with experts, regulators and families of victims indicates this problem is far more common than what one might suspect. Worse is the fact that many times, neither the nursing home nor government regulators that oversee these facilities seem to do be doing much to address the issue.

Reporters noted that in some cases, nursing home employees and administrators and government agencies can’t get far with these investigations because victims are unable to communicate what happened to them or even identify who it was that caused them harm. However, there are a substantial number of cases wherein negligence and even willful concealment is at issue. The news organization detailed cases in which nursing home administrators were slow to investigate and report allegations, often because, as they would later explain, they didn’t want to believe the allegations were true. Police often approach these matters with great skepticism, often using any opportunity to dismiss the victim’s statements due to allegations that aren’t concise or memories that are failing. Further, because there is a high standard of proof when it comes to substantiating an allegation of abuse by a state regulator, even individuals who have been repeatedly accused of abuse may never be red-flagged.  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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A state health department has cited seven nursing homes in connection with reports that residents were verbally abused by staffers. The state Department of Public Health in Connecticut cited the nursing homes more than $1,000 each in connection with the incidents. point

In one case, a registered nurse overheard an aide swearing and being disrespectful to the patient. However, it was not reported at the time. The aide was later fired.

In a similar case out of that same state two years ago, six nursing homes were fined by regulators in connection with cases of verbal abuse in nursing homes. In one of those cases, a nursing aide who was assisting a resident in using the toilet swore at the resident, prompting the resident to grab the aide’s shirt and yell. The aide then allegedly pushed the resident down, causing the resident to strike his head on the toilet paper dispenser and land on the wheelchair. The incident wasn’t reported for three whole days.  Continue reading →

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Diagnoses of elder abuse in hospital emergency rooms is often unreported and not identified in hospital emergency rooms, according to a new study conducted by by a group of researchers from the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, the University of California San Diego and Weil Cornell Medicine.emergency

Previous research has established that 1 in 10 older adults suffer some form of elder abuse. That’s going to mean tens of thousands more cases of elder abuse treated at hospital emergency rooms as the population continues to age. As it now stands, more than 23 million adults are treated in hospital emergency rooms every year.

Our nursing home abuse lawyers in Orlando strongly believe that this is a major misstep at a critical juncture for vulnerable patients. By the time patients are treated in the emergency room, the abuse has reached a turning point, and it becomes imperative that nurses, doctors and other health care professionals be trained about what nursing home abuse is – and how to recognize it.  Continue reading →

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Courts generally enforce the strong federal policy that favors arbitration where such an agreement exists. However, that doesn’t mean a court will automatically dismiss a case that involves an arbitration clause in favor of that alternative dispute resolution. This is increasingly true in nursing home abuse cases, in which Florida judges are carefully scrutinizing arbitration clauses. signature

One of the elements they consider is whether the party has relinquished rights to arbitrate.

This was the issue in the recent case of Johnson v. Heritage Healthcare, before the South Carolina Supreme Court. Court records show decedent, within six months of being admitted as a patient at defendant nursing home facility, she suffered severe pressure ulcers and a leg amputation that ultimately led to her death. The legal process to hold the facility accountable has been an arduous one, and like so many nursing home abuse cases, involved an arbitration agreement. The question before the state supreme court was whether defendant waived its right to arbitrate.  Continue reading →

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Abuse of the elderly in Florida is on the rise, according to a recent investigation by the Orlando Sentinelbrokenglasses

Although the news outlet did not offer a breakdown of whether the abuse suffered occurred in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes and assisted living centers, those too were included in the overall totals.

The newspaper noted there is no federal agency that keeps a detailed list of how many elderly people are abused and neglected, there are dozens of government agencies and social service providers that do follow what happens at both the state and local levels.  Continue reading →

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