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Concerns over nursing home negligence on the rise

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Medical Malpractice on Thursday, November 14th, 2013

As loved ones age and require more assistance and care, many New York families consider the option of placing them in assisted living facilities. And for many elderly people throughout the country, assisted living homes offer the accommodations and medical care they need. However, there is evidence that many assisted living facilities lack the federal oversight and funding to protect patients from incidents of medical negligence and malpractice.

Unlike many federally subsidized nursing home facilities across the nation, assisted living facilities can range in size and services offered. Supporters and those within the assisted living industry note that private funding and limited federal regulations allow for facilities to suit the unique needs of individual communities and states. Recent investigatory research conducted by Frontline and ProPublica suggests, however, that thousands of assisted living patients may suffer from nursing home negligence and other serious care issues as a result of industry practices.

Because assisted living facilities are generally not subject to federal guidelines, individual states determine inspection and quality standards. The level of care offered at these types of facilities can vary greatly. Therefore, researchers note that the quality of care provided can also depend on many factors. As it is, around 750,000 senior citizens live in assisted living homes, compounding issues like patient overcrowding and unqualified staffing.

Proponents of federal regulation claim that greater oversight could help ensure patient rights, care standards, and industry transparency. Still, though, New York State has yet to implement many standards that were recommended years ago. Other states are dealing with similar issues concerning assisted living facility requirements, as findings suggest budget cuts and relaxed legislation fails to address some industry-related issues.

Current assisted living industry standards and care-related concerns can complicate and hinder personal injury and malpractice claims.

Source: propublica.org, “Elderly, At Risk, and Haphazardly Protected,” A.C. Thompson, Jonathan Jones, Oct. 29, 2013


Nursing home negligence, abuse claims filed against one facility

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Medical Malpractice on Saturday, September 7th, 2013

Families across the state of New York and all around the country place a great deal of trust into medical facilities to care for patients and account for their safety at all times. Especially for families that lack the necessary resources to care for patients properly, skilled nursing facilities provide a desperately needed service. And while countless patients, and their loved ones, depend on nursing homes, there are incidents where negligence and abuse occur. One Colorado skilled nursing facility is facing several major medical malpractice complaints, prompting concern.

In one complaint, the two daughters of a previous patient of the facility in question allege that their mother died because the care home and her physician failed to address her medical needs. The patient was 80 years old when she was admitted to the nursing home in March of 2011. Shortly after being admitted, the patient’s family claims that her health deteriorated and they repeatedly asked the facility’s staff to intervene and have her transferred to the hospital. They accuse their mother’s doctor and the nursing home of causing her death.

The family’s wrongful death lawsuit notes that the victim’s doctor was on medical probation at the time of her death, and he refused to place the ailing patient on an IV treatment. State agencies investigating the nursing home negligence case corroborate these claims, adding that the care facility failed to implement proper infection control techniques.

In a separate incident, two patients complained that they were sexually assaulted by one CNA. It wasn’t until two patients spoke up and the nursing home conducted its own investigation that the employee was officially suspected of assault. He has since allegedly confessed to committing such offenses.

In three years, the skilled nursing facility received 40 citations from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Source: bloomfieldenterprise.com, “Number of care concerns found at Broomfield Skilled Nursing,” Megan Quinn, August 25, 2013


Jury rules against nursing home in wrongful death suit

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Medical Malpractice on Thursday, July 25th, 2013

With so many people living longer in New York, and everywhere else around the country, more and more the elderly are being placed in nursing homes and other care facilities. Most of the time, these facilities do their best to help give their tenants the best care possible. However, in some instances nursing homes and their employees fail to live up to the laws.

A nursing home has decided to settle a lawsuit against it after a court ruled that it pay just over $90 million dollars in a separate wrongful death suit from 2011. This latest suit was filed by the administratrix of the estate of a woman who died after living in the facility from 2007-2011. According to the complaint the nursing home staff failed to properly care for the woman including allowing her to get pressure sores and infections. There was also some evidence that woman may have fallen while in the home.

In the 2011 case the jury sided with the plaintiff and ordered the nursing home to pay more than $90 million in both compensatory and punitive damages combined. The nursing home has appealed the ruling. However, rather than go to court for this most recent case, the nursing home has reached a settlement, the terms of which were not disclosed.

It is important for anyone who has been mistreated or taken advantage of in a nursing home to know his or her rights. No one should have to worry about being neglected at any kind of care facility. If anyone feels that he or she has been the victim of nursing home negligence, it may be a good idea to contact a medical negligence attorney.

Source: West Virginia Record, “Nursing home settles wrongful death suit against it,” John O’Brien, July 10, 2013


Take action if you suspect nursing home abuse

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

A woman suspected her grandmother was being abused in her Bronx nursing home, Gold Crest Care Center. So she decided to find out, installing a hidden camera in her grandmother’s room. She says the results shocked her.

She had noted bruises and markings on her grandmother’s skin, but her grandmother, who has Alzheimer’s, was unable to tell her whether she was being abused. The hidden camera confirmed her worst suspicions, the granddaughter says.

After viewing the 600 hours of footage captured by the hidden camera, she knew that the abuse was not just a suspicion.

She saw an aide grabbing her grandmother’s arm, slamming her into the bed and other rough treatment. The aide has since been arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a physically disabled person. The granddaughter reported that an additional three staffers had been fired from the nursing home.

After watching the video, she had her grandmother transferred to the emergency room of a hospital and subsequently to another nursing home in New Rochelle. The Gold Crest Care Center is not commenting on the matter because of pending criminal and civil actions.

The granddaughter was correct to act on her suspicions. Family members who notice unexplained injuries at any level should take action to keep their loved ones safe. This is especially true when the nursing home resident is incapacitated and unable to describe abuse. Family members need to be alert to unsafe conditions, whether the situation involves abuse, poor sanitation, lack of staff or other conditions that could endanger the safety of their loved one.

Source: ABCLocal, “Woman says grandmother abused at nursing home,” Feb. 15, 2013. 

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Queens nursing home: Was it negligent during Sandy? Part 2 of 2

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Friday, November 23rd, 2012

In our previous post, we discussed some of the allegations of negligence at a Queens nursing home during Hurricane Sandy. More details follow.

In preparation for Hurricane Sandy, the state health department ordered care facilities such as Promenade to stay at 150 percent of normal staffing levels, to stock at least three days worth of food, and ensure that backup generators were in working order. However, Promenade appears not to have made such preparations.

The allegations about the nursing home’s owners and managers come from several staff members, as well as from state officials who tried to contact the facility about preparations for the storm. In fact, one nurse said that during preparations for evacuation, the staff was ordered to stop. The facilities director at a nearby nursing home noted that the owner of Promenade requested that he be given flashlights and batteries, as his facility did not have enough.

After the patents were evacuated, some remained in emergency shelters for several days before being moved to other nursing homes – again, without records and information. Promenade nurses and aides who had visited patients in the immediate aftermath of the storm stopped going to the shelters because it was deemed too expensive, according to some shelter workers. One of the nursing homes where Promenade patients were sent tried unsuccessfully for nine days to contact the facility. Relatives trying to find their family members report that their calls were not returned and in some instances the whereabouts of their loved ones remains unknown.

The nursing home owners deny that they were negligence at a Queens nursing home by failing to provide proper care during the storm. In fact, they point to the fact that they were able to evacuate with no loss of life as an indicator of proper care. That they don’t know where all their patients landed appears to be less urgent to the facility’s owners than to the anxious families.

Source: New York Times, “Nursing Home Is Faulted Over Care After Storm,” Nov. 10, 2012.

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Queens nursing home: Was it negligent during Sandy? Part 1 of 2

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

After the backup generator flooded and power died, residents of the Promenade nursing home in the Rockaway Park neighborhood of Queens found themselves in the dark, with little food and no heat. As a result, the New York State Health Department has begun an investigation into the apparent negligence of the nursing home.

The day after the storm, as temperatures dropped, the nursing home evacuated 200 patients and placed them in emergency shelters across the city. In many instances, no staff members accompanied them. In other cases, there were no medical records detailing the treatment that patients were supposed to receive.

Worst of all, a number of families have been unable to locate their loved ones. Promenade has been no help. No one knows how many patients remain missing. And some say that the behavior of nursing home management is more than negligent – it’s criminal.

The administrator of the home left the city on October 28. The director of nursing left the next day. Among the failures of the facility: Lack of extra staff to prepare for the storm, as required by state licensing; no stocking of additional medicines and flashlights; no preparation of patient records and other required pre-evacuation procedures.

Promenade’s actions during last year’s hurricane were similar. The nursing home sent patients to alternate facilities without staff and without medical records, as it did during Sandy. However, the state declined to investigate.

Read more about what happened to Promendade patients during the hurricane in the next post.

Source:New York Times, “Nursing Home Is Faulted Over Care After Storm,” Nov. 10, 2012.

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Are New York’s nursing homes prepared for a natural disaster?

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On behalf of of Kahn Gordon Timko & Rodriques P.C. posted in Personal Injury on Sunday, May 13th, 2012

Nursing home negligence could involve improper medication, malnutrition, dehydration, or failure to monitor. After Hurricane Katrina, when 139 residents lost their lives, nursing homes were also found negligent for failure to plan for a natural disaster, resulting in the filing of wrongful death lawsuits on behalf of victims and their families.

New York was listed as one of the top 10 states that could leave patients vulnerable in the event of a natural disaster. Nursing homes throughout the region and the state should be prepared in the event of an emergency to prevent the unnecessary loss of lives. A new study indicates that residents may be at risk.

According to a recent government report, the majority of nursing homes are underprepared to protect residents in the event of a tornado, flood, or hurricane. The emergency plans lacked specific steps such as coordination with local authorities, notification of relatives, and pinning name tags with a list of medications in the event of an evacuation.

While there are specific federal planning requirements, authorities do not believe that nursing homes are prepared in the event of a disaster, lacking relevant information to carry out a successful rescue. Many of the homes had tentative plans, but did not have the specific information or attention to detail. They were lacking emergency water resources, failed to training staff and, in general, did not have the ability to carry out any plans.

Failure to prepare for a disaster could leave nursing homes open to personal injury litigation and lawsuits in the event of an emergency. When a patient suffers a severe injury or death because of negligence, the family may be able to pursue compensation for pain and suffering and other personal and economic losses related to negligence.

Source: The Washington Post, “Report: Nursing homes unprepared for natural disasters,” Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, April 16, 2012

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