Articles Posted in Nursing Home Abuse

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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.


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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 →

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Last year, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) initiated a rule that prohibits nursing homes from requiring patients to sign mandatory arbitration agreements prior to disputes. However, CMS hit the brakes on enforcement of that rule in a largely-overlooked memo in December, indicating it would not do so until a court-ordered injunction is lifted. That occurred in November, when the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi granted the request of trade group American Health Care Association’s to halt the rule.old woman wheelchair

The other big question mark here is how the Trump Administration is going to handle this issue, which involves stripping nursing home residents of the legal remedy of pursuing a trial in court. Instead, arbitration agreements require disputes – even those pertaining to serious personal injury and death –  be handled by an arbitrator of the nursing home’s choosing.

In the meantime, courts across the country have come to varying conclusions about the issue. In September, the Florida Supreme Court rejected mandatory arbitration in a nursing home abuse case. While the 3rd District Court of Appeal had sided with the nursing home in ruling the case should go to an arbitrator, the state supreme court ruled 5-2 that a decedent father should not be bound by an arbitration agreement signed without his consent by his son – who helped with his father’s admission to the nursing home.  Continue reading →

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Restraints in nursing homes are only to be used sparingly, for medically necessary reasons, for a very limited period of time and under close supervision. Unfortunately, too many nursing homes will initiate the use of physical restraints or chemical restraints without the proper justification, procedure or supervision, resulting in serious harm to elderly patients.wheelchair

This is what was alleged recently by the daughter of a nursing home patient in Virginia. According to The Virginian-Pilot, plaintiff alleges two nurses tied her elderly mother to her wheelchair with bed sheets and then injected her with a narcotic sedative in order to keep her quiet. The lawsuit alleges the victim was kept in that state overnight. When another nurse came on shift and wanted to free her and clean her up, the supervisor reportedly instructed her to, “leave her sit in it.”

An investigation by the state health department was initiated after authorities received two complaints alleging two different residents (this one included) were restrained at the facility. Plaintiff’s daughter only found out about the incident after she received an anonymous call from someone who reportedly worked at the nursing home. When plaintiff raised the issue with the nursing home, a supervisor reportedly told her it had already been investigated and there was no proof it had occurred. However, plaintiff now says that review was done quietly and failed to really scratch the surface of what allegedly happened.The health department ultimately formulated a correction plan for the facility.  Continue reading →

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The widow of a man who died in a fire while in the care of a county-owned nursing home in Philadelphia has filed a lawsuit alleging negligence by the facility and staffers. The man, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease and numerous other ailments, was reportedly engulfed in flames after dropping his lit cigarette on his clothing.cigarette

The nursing home negligence lawsuit alleges the facility violated federal nursing home regulations by allowing him to smoke unsupervised, despite the fact that he needed help with many basic tasks. He required assistance to eat, bathe, dress, brush his teeth and more. Yet somehow, he was entrusted to use an open flame without supervision, jeopardizing not only his safety but also that of other patients and staffers at the facility.

This is the kind of judgment lapse that families may want to be on alert for when going to visit loved ones in nursing homes this holiday season. It may seem like a simple oversight, but the fact is, it could quickly end in tragedy. Continue reading →