Articles Tagged with nursing home abuse attorney

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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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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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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 organizational structure of nursing homes and long-term care centers throughout the country has created challenges for nursing home negligence lawyers seeking to hold these companies and staffers accountable for abuse and neglect of the elderly. oldwomanwheelchair

It used to be that in most cases of nursing home abuse or neglect, plaintiffs could be relatively certain that a lawsuit naming the facility and/or its staffers would generally cover all possible defendants. What we are seeing more frequently is a situation where nursing homes use complex management structures that obscure the entities responsible for delivering care. They often set up a number of sub-companies that de-centralize ownership and separate real estate ownership from operations, etc. All that can make it difficult for residents and their families to seek compensation from the appropriate parties through litigation.

That was an issue that cropped up in the case of Maree v. Neuwirth, recently before the Oklahoma Supreme Court. Continue reading →

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If you’re over the age of 35, you could be forgiven for not being familiar with “Snapchat.” But it’s worth learning about, considering it has more than 200 million active users and is one of the fastest social media apps in the world. It’s also being cited in an alarming number of nursing home abuse cases across the country. iphone2

Take for example:

  • In August, two aides at a nursing home in Massachusetts were arrested for reportedly posting humiliating videos of several nursing home residents. One involved an 86-year-old woman sitting on the toilet being asked questions about her sex life. Another was a 75-year-old woman under the caption, “Chuckie’s Bride.” In another, a 99-year-old woman tries to break free of the aide who is hugging her in her bed, telling her she loves her.
  • In California, sheriff’s officials in San Diego launched an investigation after a Snapchat video depicted an elderly nursing home patient nude in the shower, while a worker stands behind her laughing.
  • In Illinois, a nursing assistant films as another slaps the face of a 97-year-old dementia patient with a nylon strap as the woman begs for the pair to stop. The workers laugh at her.
  • In Ohio, a nursing assistant recorded residents who were coached to say, “I’m in love with coco,” which is slang for cocaine.
  • Most recently in Wisconsin, a former nursing assistant at a Wisconsin assisted living facility was arrested on felony charges after allegedly taking video of a mostly naked patient and posting on Snapchat. The patient is 93-years-old and suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The 21-year-old former worker faces up to 1.5 years in prison.

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Recently in central Florida, two certified nursing assistants were fired and arrested on charges of battery on an elderly person after footage from a hidden camera appears to show them striking an elderly Alzheimer’s patient in their care. bruise

The 76-year-old victim’s son said he and his wife noticed the bruising on his body, but assumed it was the result of frequent falls. His father wasn’t able to communicate the truth, according to ABC 10 News. The son then placed a “nanny cam” in his father’s room. They discovered staffers taunting him, handling him roughly and even striking him.

The worst part about all this is that it’s not all that uncommon. A new study published in the latest edition of The New England Journal of Medicine indicates 1 in 10 elderly people will suffer some form of abuse in their lives. That’s a largely conservative estimate, considering it involves self-reported abuse. Many people, like the victim in the aforementioned central Florida case, can’t speak up about what’s happening to them. Diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia rob them of the ability to recognize and articulate these wrongs, to say nothing of the fear that keeps some suffering in silence. Continue reading →

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Residential agreements are required by most – if not all – nursing home residents at the time of admission. elder2

In some cases, these agreements simply lay out the financial obligation of resident seeking placement. However, an increasing number of homes are requiring residents and/or their representatives to sign arbitration agreements. These are essentially contracts that prohibit a resident from filing a lawsuit in court in the event of negligence or abuse resulting in harm to the resident. Instead, they are required to submit any claim to binding arbitration.

What many people don’t understand is that this is a forfeiture of a constitutional right. Although arbitration can yield favorable results to plaintiffs, a court of law is typically the best forum to weigh these complex cases. Plaintiffs tend to have a higher success rate in court and damages awarded are often significantly more substantial. Continue reading →