Articles Posted in Nursing Home Abuse

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A nurse was reportedly fired from her nursing home position after she reported alleged abuse of residents to authorities and now, a jury has awarded her $5.2 million for wrongful termination. nursing home abuse lawyer

Although this is technically an employment law case, it highlights the atmosphere that allows abusive, neglectful and negligent actions to persist in a nursing home setting. As our nursing home abuse attorneys know, employment actions pertaining to a nursing home can shed a lot of light into the kind of workplace it was, and therefore the type of care facility it was.

As the National Center on Elder Abuse reports, the prevalence of elder abuse today is roughly 10 percent of all seniors, who suffer physical abuse, psychological and verbal abuse, sexual abuse, financial exploitation and neglect. One ground-breaking study in New York revealed that some 260,000 elder adults in that state (or about 1 in 13) suffered some type of abuse in the previous 12 months. Data from Adult Protective Services at the state level indicate these are increasing trends, and are likely to continue on this trajectory as the population ages without adequate care facilities to meet their needs.

Potential risk factors for nursing home abuse in Florida include:

  • Dementia;
  • Experience of previous traumatic events (i.e., domestic and interpersonal violence);
  • Being female;
  • Low income/ poverty;
  • No spouse/ partner.

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Unsanitary and dangerous living conditions cannot be allowed to persist in a nursing home full of vulnerable, elderly adults – particularly when the facility accepts government money to ensure proper care. Facilities need to be hygienic to lower the threat of illnesses, health codes must be followed in serving and preparing daily meals and the site needs to be regularly and adequately cleaned. nursing home abuse lawyer

Recently, a Fort Myers nursing home was shut down by the state for reportedly failing repeatedly to address unsanitary conditions for more than a year. The site has reportedly been inspected by the state 17 times over the course of 13 months, starting in October 2015. Time and again, The News-Press reports, the facility failed inspections when investigators with the Agency for Health Care Administration uncovered conditions that were either unsanitary or unsafe for residents. Facility owners were even advised of a return date of inspection, yet still failed to address the conditions that resulted in citation. A final order was issued last month, giving the facility 30 days to find new living arrangements for the residents.

As our Fort Myers nursing home negligence attorneys can explain, this is an extreme action by the state. It’s not that this facility didn’t deserve this action. What’s more startling is the number of opportunities the facility had to take corrective action. Meanwhile, there more than a 100 residents living with conditions that weren’t safe or clean. It’s actually quite rare for the state to take this level of corrective action.  Continue reading →

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A fire at a Pennsylvania nursing home has reportedly resulted in injury to 20 residents, seven of whom were treated for smoke inhalation. No one was reportedly died from complications as of this writing, which is rather remarkable considering the flames stretched several stories high, according local news outlets.nursing home negligence attorney

The fire reportedly ripped through the home and forced the center to evacuate more than 140 residents and more than a dozen staffers. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The question of whether the nursing home could be liable for negligence following a nursing home fire will depend on several factors. These include:

  • The cause of the fire;
  • Whether the nursing home was inadequately prepared to address the fire/ evacuate residents;
  • Whether the facility followed its emergency protocol for handling such incidents (and whether staff was trained to do so);
  • Whether anyone was seriously injured or died.

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Nursing home arbitration agreements are better to avoid if at all possible. An increasing number of nursing homes include arbitration agreements in their admission paperwork, essentially mandating parties agree to forfeit their constitutional right to have a dispute decided in a court of law – publicly and in front of a jury. Instead, they agree to have disputes resolved in a non-public binding arbitration. nursing home abuse lawyer

Arbitration does a disservice to those who have suffered nursing home abuse because:

  • Consumers are at a disadvantage. Arbitrators need to make a living. While the resident bringing the case is a one-time paying customer, corporate defendants will be involved again and again. Unfortunately, some arbitrators take this fact into account, and that high compensatory damages awarded to abused resident isn’t likely to get them repeat business with the corporate client.
  • It’s expensive. While nursing home residents often qualify for court fee waivers and trial judges are compensated by taxpayers, arbitrators are private judges who are charged for their services – anywhere from $400 to $1,000 hourly.
  • They aren’t often voluntary. They are typically offered as a “take-it-or-leave-it” option. Few understand the consequences of signing the arbitration agreement.

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A federal appellate court has affirmed a $1.2 million damage award to plaintiffs whose mother was abused by two certified nursing assistant while she was a patient in a nursing home. That damage award included $10,000 in punitive damages, which are awarded in injury and wrongful death cases involving intentional misconduct or gross negligence.


nursing home abuse
These types of cases are becoming increasingly popular, particularly in Florida, as the population ages and the availability of quality care workers becomes more strained. According to court records from the U.S. Court of Appeal for the 10th Circuit, the nursing home patient lived on her own until she was 90-years-old. In 2008, her three daughters moved her into defendant’s nursing home facility. By that time, the elderly woman suffered from severe arthritis, which significantly impacted her mobility and required her to use a  wheelchair. She also had difficulty communicating due to dementia.

The two CNAs in question had not worked there long by the time victim was placed in their care. Both workers had numerous write-ups in their personnel files for things like excessive tardiness, leaving the site in the middle of a shift, using a cell phone during work, failing to show up for work, falling asleep at work, refusing to complete certain assigned duties (including leaving residents in wet diapers for hours). One of the workers was recommended for immediate termination, yet she nonetheless continued working there. In fact, she was even responsible for training new CNAs regarding proper resident treatment.  Continue reading →

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It was to be expected following one of the biggest and most powerful storms in Florida’s history that those who stayed would be grappling with some degree of power loss in the immediate aftermath. However, one could also reasonably assume that health care providers – including nursing homes responsible for the care of elderly and vulnerable individuals – would be prepared to ensure patients’ basic needs would be met. nursing home negligence

That reportedly did not happen at a nursing home in Hollywood Hills, according to nursing home negligence lawsuits filed recently by family members of several residents who died there under sweltering conditions following the storm and subsequent power outages.

CBS News reports a total of 10 nursing home patients died after they were kept in a facility that had essentially become a “sweatbox” in the days after Hurricane Irma. While the facility lacked air conditioning, just across the street was a fully-equipped and cooled hospital.  Continue reading →

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An elderly woman reportedly died after suffering a serious and painful bedsore while in the care of a physician at a nursing home in New Jersey. Media reports are the family of the 90-year-old woman died approximately three months after being admitted to the nursing home with a fractured hip. nursing home abuse lawyer

Her insurance covered her stay for 100 days, after which time she was promptly discharged. It was only at that time, when she was brought home, that family members say they discovered the bedsore on her lower back. She was rushed to the hospital, where doctors diagnosed her with a Stage IV bedsore. She was septic. She was frail and ultimately not able to overcome the blood infection. She died a short time later after being discharged to her home to be cared for by hospice workers.

Now, her family accuses the doctor and staff at the nursing home of either failing to notice the bedsore or of ignoring it as it developed – in either case a breach of the applicable standard of care for medical professionals of their position.  Continue reading →

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A recent nursing home negligence lawsuit out of Massachusetts underscores how important it is to promptly consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. Specifically, it’s imperative that all claims be filed within the appropriate statute of limitations, which can vary depending on the type of claim, where the claim occurred and the identity of the defendant.

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In a case of alleged nursing home negligence, plaintiff’s claim for damages due to wrongful death failed after claimant reportedly missed an important statute of limitations deadline. The reason he missed it, according to court records, is that defendant nursing home in this case was operated by a branch of the federal government. As such, it was subject to certain statutory provisions that differed from state statutes. Specifically, the statute of limitations for wrongful death actions.

State law in Massachusetts requires all wrongful death actions be brought within three years of when the cause of action arises, meaning either when the death occurs or when its cause (in this case, nursing home negligence) becomes known or was knowable. Meanwhile, federal tort law (like Florida law) requires all wrongful death actions be filed within two years of when the cause of action accrues. Continue reading →

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A family in Illinois has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against a nursing home, alleging staff at the center misread her chart and failed to resuscitate her after she was found unconscious. ambulance

The patient was just 52 when she died, and suffered from kidney disease and diabetes. She was reportedly initially admitted to the center due to a rare bacterial infection that had caused her to come down with a bad case of pneumonia. Her stay was only supposed to last three weeks. However, her family says it was extended to six months after she suffered a nursing home fall while unattended and broke her hip.

Then one morning in March 2016, a staffer reportedly found the woman unconscious. A full half hour passed before a call was made to emergency services by a staff member who told dispatchers a resident had died, and there was a do not resuscitate order. Ten minutes after that, another call was placed to 911 reporting the employee had misread the chart and pleading for paramedics to come right away. Continue reading →

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A new study by researchers at Wayne State University reveals a “substantial amount of costs” to the U.S. healthcare system due to fall-related injuries in nursing homes. hand

Specifically, the study, published in JAMA Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery, focused on facial injuries. Looking at emergency room data from 2011 to 2015, they found approximately 110,000 nursing home residents in their 60s who were treated for facial injuries. The risk of facial injury increased with age and for female residents.

Facial trauma among the elderly is reportedly “largely neglected” in previous studies, and researchers asserted additional focus on this problem will be imperative as our population ages and more people reside in nursing homes.  Continue reading →