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Nursing Homes and Medical Malpractice

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The picture above paints a rosy picture of the elderly enjoying retirement at a nursing home–it is oftentimes, not so!

The New York Times recently published an article titled “Maggots, Rape and Yet Five Stars: How U.S. Ratings of Nursing Homes Mislead the Public” It is a must read for anyone with a loved one in a nursing home or thinking about it.

The New York Times article criticizes the 1 to 5 star review system implemented by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The system was based on a self-reporting scheme and an on-site inspections. The New York times determined that the system is broken.

The Tip of the Iceberg

We all know that what is actually discovered is usually just the tip of the iceberg. The more glaring and astonishing discoveries in the article include:

You have to read the New York Times article for accounts of maggots, rape and sexual assault.

Nursing Home Neglect is Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice and medical negligence mean the same thing. Nursing home cases are a form of medical malpractice are are treated as such in Utah. Some of the more common reasons for suing a nursing home or extended care facility include:

  • Failure to keep the premises reasonably safe and free of hazards. This includes everything from preventing falls to preventing assault.
  • Negligent hiring and failing to make sure the persons hired have the right qualifications. This also includes the failure to properly train their employees and failing to properly supervise their employees.
  • Negligent supervision of residents who then fall, or otherwise injure themselves, especially when staff are aware that the resident needs one-on-one supervision.
  • Failure to monitor and enforce their own health and safety policies.

Litigating Nursing Home Negligence

Litigating a nursing home negligence is complicated for many reasons. Some of the reasons why suing a nursing home becomes a monumental task are:

  • Nursing homes are often owned by conglomerates who use shell companies for protection.
  • The policies and procedures exist but are not followed.
  • Oftentimes staff are not willing to tell the truth for fear of retaliation.
  • The insurance companies almost always argue that the resident is old (of course they are) and claim that fair compensation should be limited because the harmed person had a low quality of life or limited time to live.

Signs of Neglect & Negligence

Nursing home neglect is a tragic but all-too-common issue in the United States. It occurs when residents in nursing homes do not get proper care and suffer physical or mental health problems as a result. Many nursing homes treat residents with dignity and respect, but others fail to meet a basic standard of care. Some of the more common signs of nursing home negligence include:

  • Failure to provide adequate food, clothing, or shelter
  • Failure to provide medical care or oral/dental care
  • Failure to give residents regular baths
  • Failure to keep residents hydrated
  • Failure to complete range-of-motion exercises
  • Failure to provide prescribed wound care (including for bedsores)
  • Failure to comply with safety standards when assisting patients with mobility issues
  • Failure to help residents when they ask for assistance

Why Sue a Nursing Home

Nursing home negligence must be addressed. The only way I know of making nursing homes and extended care facilities live up to their promises is to hold them accountable in a court of law when things go wrong.

If we allow nursing home negligence to continue in our community we only have ourselves to blame for the outcome.

Contact attorney George Tait at George Tait Law if you suspect a loved one has been neglected in an Utah nursing home or extended care facility. We can usually tell you whether or not you have a viable case.

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