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NURSING HOME ABUSE, NEGLECT AND DEATH

Nursing home cases are usually well received by juries, and many draw large verdicts.  Why? A perfectly innocent person has been badly mistreated because a proprietor is trying to save some payroll dollars. 

Nursing home neglect is usually caused by inadequate staffing, which can trigger problems problems like:

: Improper sanitation in food service.

: Failure to treat pressure sores. Failure to prevent certain injuries such as falls and burns.

: Inadequate care plans. Poor quality of care on a day to day basis.

: Inadequate or inaccurate resident assessment.

Damages can be a difficult aspect of nursing home cases because of the advanced age of the victim. The defense's strongest arguments are (1) the victim had pre-existing injuries or conditions; (2)was of such advanced age that the life expectancy is or was short; and (3) that the real plaintiffs are relatives who may inherit the settlement.

Your attorney will need to demonstrate the importance of quality care, no matter how long or short the stay in a nursing home. If the victim has or had a life expectancy of a year or two, why should those several hundred days have been spent in misery, pain, degradation and loneliness?   

The following types of cases are likely to result in larger damages:

1. Pressure sores. If you have ever seen a picture of someone with Stage III or IV pressure sores, you understand the large awards. The most difficult thing to prove in these cases is that the sores were caused by the neglect of the nursing home.

2. Unmanaged pain. The pain medication records will show how often pain medication was actually administered to your client. If your attorney can document that your client was in constant frequent pain, he or she will have much to argue about for damages.

3. Malnutrition and dehydration. In many of these starvation cases, the patient goes through both malnutrition and dehydration, which in turn can produce decubitus ulcers. The records should  document fluid and food intake.

4. Loss of Dignity.   Here the victim has been lying in soiled bed linens, has developed large sores, eats horrible food, or not provided with entertainment or exercise. Proof will come from the before and after videos, testimony from relatives, friends, or co-workers, and photographs of the conditions.

5. Physical or sexual assault.  The facility will argue that it had no notice of the guilty parties propensities. However, the majority of intentional assaults are perpetrated by employees whose background checks were underway but incomplete.

6. Wandering. These cases occur when a patient gets lost and then becomes disorientated or eventually injured because of poor supervision or monitoring by the facility. Wandering is common behavior for patients experiencing dementia, and a properly-run home will take steps to protect these residents.

COVID-19 AND THE NURSING HOME OR REHAB FACILITY

With the current pandemic many of our most vulnerable members of our society are in currently nursing home or rehab facilities. Great care must be taken by these facilities to protect these patients from being exposed to the COVID-19 virus.    Unfortunately, some nursing homes or rehab facilities will cut corners and cause vulnerable patients to contract the COVID-19 virus which could prove to be lethal because of their already weakened physical condition.  Nursing home and rehab facilities must segregate the COVID-19 positive patients from the other patients in the facility. Failure to do so is negligent and could give rise to a lawsuit against the facility for the wrongful death of a loved one.  

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