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Seniors Afraid of Reporting Nursing Home Abuse

nursing home abuse of eldersAlthough news media has done much in the past decade to reveal instances of shocking elder abuse in nursing homes, all too often, this abuse goes unreported. About 80% of abuse, neglect, or exploitation are unreported, according to a National Elder Abuse Incident Study. Only 20% are reported.

Why? Sadly, nursing home residents fear retaliation by the staff, either by neglect or abuse or exploitation. All too many senior citizen residents in nursing homes have no one to turn to if abuse occurs. Workers in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, for example, think that 60% of seniors in long-term facilities have no one close who comes to see them or to whom they can turn if conditions are suboptimal in the centers.

What Is the Solution to Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes?

Elder abuse in nursing homes is tragic. It can lead to injuries or even death. Even if injuries aren’t overt, the neglect can have catastrophic effects on senior citizen health.

What can be done? The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care has designated October “Residents’ Rights Month.” It’s an annual celebration of the dignity, rights and respect owed to each resident in long-term care sites.

Consumer Voice notes that the U.S. Nursing Home Reform Law guarantees the rights of long-term care residents and mandates that the care facilities “promote and protect the rights of each resident.”

In many areas of the country, senior citizen care facilities, medical professionals, public officials, and seniors put together programs designed to promote awareness and the values of dignity, rights, and respect. These programs can help raise awareness: elder abuse should not be happening. Anywhere.

Elder Abuse: Signs and Symptoms

Elder abuse takes many forms. If you have a loved one in a nursing home or long-term care facility, be sure to be alert for signs of abuse. Many senior citizens are afraid to report elder abuse, even to a trusted person.

The signs can be physical, such as bruises, swelling, or lacerations. Any hitting or striking of patients, of course, is abuse. But neglect of physical needs is also elder abuse. Has your loved one fallen because of inadequate supervision, for example? Are they not receiving needed medication at the proper time?

The signs can also be emotional, and these can be harder to spot. Elder emotional abuse can make your loved one anxious, fearful, depressed, or withdrawn. It can also cause unusual behavior, such as anger or lack of interest in normal activities.

Elder abuse also covers financial abuse. Unfortunately, some senior citizens in nursing homes are taken advantage of financially, either by having their money or checkbooks taken or used without their permission, or by being persuaded to give money to staff.

Have You or a Loved One Suffered Harm in a Nursing Home?

If you or a loved one in Long Island or New York City have suffered harm because of any type of elder abuse in a nursing home, please contact us immediately to discuss possible legal recourse and redress.

Edelman, Krasin & Jaye are leading nursing home abuse lawyers in Long Island and New York City. We will fight for those harmed at the hands of negligent healthcare professionals.

Call us today for a confidential, complimentary consultation. We will let you know how much your case is worth, and outline all of you legal options for monetary compensation.

Additional resources:

  1. Hook, Jim. Seniors in nursing homes are often afraid to report elder abuse. WITF. http://www.witf.org/news/2018/10/seniors-in-nursing-homes-are-often-afraid-to-report-elder-abuse.php
  2. Residents’ Rights Month 2018. The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care. http://theconsumervoice.org/events/residents-rights-month-2018

Steps To Filing A Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

Medical malpractice lawsuitMedical procedures can be minor or as major as brain or heart surgery. Thousands of these surgeries take place every day. Unfortunately, some of these procedures lead to medical malpractice. That’s a real concern for anyone who is facing surgery, no matter how minor. You might be surprised to learn that medical malpractice happens more often than you may think. In fact, medical negligence is the third leading cause of death, right behind cancer and heart disease. That’s a pretty scary statistic, especially if you’re getting ready to have a medical procedure. In the unfortunate event that you become a victim of medical malpractice, it’s important to know of the steps you should take when filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Consult With An Experienced Attorney

As soon as you think you might be a victim of medical malpractice, you need to consult an experienced attorney. An attorney can give you expert legal advice and guide you through the process of filing your medical malpractice lawsuit. Using an attorney will increase your chances of having a successful outcome. You shouldn’t take on the case alone. Medical malpractice cases can be confusing for the average person. Therefore, the importance of obtaining an attorney cannot be overstated.

Obtain Your Medical Records

You’re going to need evidence for your medical malpractice lawsuit. The best evidence is going to be your medical records. You will need to sign a release so that your attorney and the defense attorney can review your medical records. It is to your advantage to obtain a copy of your medical records as soon as you think you have a case. You can then deliver your records to your attorney so they can begin reviewing the information. It is possible that your attorney might advise you not to file a lawsuit. If your attorney feels you do have a case, they may want to solicit expert opinions from doctors, nurses and other medical professionals. The sooner professionals can review your records, the sooner you will know if you have a viable case that has a good chance of being successful.

Notify Insurance Companies and/or Facilities

You will need to give the insurance companies and/or facilities involved notice of your intent to file a medical malpractice suit. This is one of the areas where your attorney is invaluable. They will act as the middle person between you and the insurance company to negotiate on your behalf. It is possible that the insurance company or hospital could offer you a settlement to avoid a lawsuit.

Ensure You Are In Compliance With Pre-Suit Requirements

You should be aware of your state’s pre-suit requirements. Pre-suit notice requirements are intended to:

  • Reduce frivolous lawsuits
  • Streamline litigation
  • Encourage settlement

The ultimate purpose of pre-suit requirements is to reduce the number of medical malpractice lawsuits. If you fail to comply with such requirements, it can prove detrimental to your case. Failing to comply and give the defendant proper notice can lead to the dismissal of your case.

File Your Complaint

Once you and your attorney have determined that your case should go forward, it is time to file your medical malpractice complaint. The complaint is a formal outline of your allegations against the defendant. Once the complaint has been filed, the lawsuit begins. The more involved in the lawsuit that you become, the more you will appreciate the advice of your attorney and to have them act on your behalf.

Seeking the advice and services of an attorney will lead to the best outcome possible. The legal aspects of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit can be murky. Your chances of winning your case are greatly increased when you have an experienced attorney on your side.

Author Bio:

Laurence Banville. Esq is the managing partner and face of Banville Law. Laurence is licensed to practice law in the state of New York. Originally from Ireland, Banville moved to the United States of America where he worked at law firms, refining his litigation and brief writing crafts. He is also the recipient of the Irish Legal 100 and the Top 40 Under 40 awards.

NY Health Care Workers Who Sleep on the Job Face Prosecution

Senior Woman In Chair At Home With Pet CatBeginning in 2013, there have been more than 450 cases of health care workers routinely sleeping on the job in New York State. These employees, essentially paid to “sleep on the job,” endanger the patients for whose care they are responsible. At Edelman, Krasin & Jaye, our attorneys are encouraged to hear that steps are being taken to confront these examples of neglect in our nursing homes and other health care facilities. As such occurrences continue to come to light, we want to be on the side of those who aggressively crack down on instances of Long Island nursing home neglect.

The state has taken several steps to curtail the problem of sleeping on the job, which appears to be endemic in our state. For instance, they have written guidelines to be distributed among health care facilities, health care employees, and families of patients in order to set standards and promote awareness of the problem. But prosecutors associated with the state have also begun to actively hold employees who routinely sleep on the job accountable if their neglect results in injury to their patients. For instance, a nurse whose sleeping habit led to the death of her patient was charged and convicted for her neglect.

Nurse in Upstate New York loses license, gets jail time

Tanya Lemon, 35, worked 12-hour night shifts at a group home near Syracuse, NY. One of her most important duties was to check on a severely disabled patient every two hours to ensure that his airway was clear and his oxygen mask was functioning. One night, however, Lemon left the man unattended for eight hours while she slept, which was a routine practice for her. At one point during this period, the man’s access to oxygen was obstructed and he suffered brain damage. Fourteen days led, he died as a result. Lemon was found guilty of felony endangerment of a disabled person. She lost her license and received five years of probation and 90 days in jail.

According to fellow employees at the Briarwood Lane home in DeWitt, NY, where Lemon worked, routinely sleeping on the job was by no means a problem limited to one employee. Nurse Barbara Parsons has noted that it was a fairly common and well-known practice. However, in Lemon’s case it led to the death of a patient and the prosecution of the health care worker whose lapse led to the death.

Many states do not keep careful records of workers caught sleeping on the job. However, those that do have found that it is a serious problem. For instance, in addition to New York, Ohio’s Department of Developmental Disabilities has located 88 cases of which health workers routinely sleeping while they should be watching patients.

It is important to distinguish between workers who have nodded off during isolated incidents and workers who actually “schedule” their sleep time for working hours. As Patricia Gunning, special prosecutor in the Lemon case notes, routine sleeping on the job “is something that rises to criminal conduct.”

Experienced medical malpractice attorneys in Long Island

No workers should engage in such practices. Unfortunately, however, cases can only be brought against employees (or facilities who do not properly supervise them) if routine on-the-job sleeping leads to the harm of a patient. While no one wants such serious injury to result, it is important for victims and their families to know that legal action is possible.

Please contact Long Island medical malpractice lawyers at Edelman, Krasin & Jaye if you believe that your family member’s death or injury was the result of neglect in which an employee was sleeping on the job. We are available for a free, no-obligation consultation about a potential case. Call our offices toll-free at 1-800-469-7429.