Articles Posted in Nursing Home

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Though our country has gone through a turbulent time with the recent election, we understand that many have become frustrated and upset with even discussing the topic of government and politics.  However, it has come to our attention that certain elected government officials have put forth a bill which would severely curtail the rights of all citizens and reduce our access to the Court system as well as the right to receive fair and adequate damages for serious injuries.

This week, the House will vote on a number of bills that will make it difficult for accident victims to seek justice in our nation’s courts. If these bills pass, it will make it nearly impossible for Americans, who are injured in accidents, and their families to pursue legal action. The so-called “Protection Access to Care Act of 2017” [H.R. 1215] will rig the system against us by allowing insurance companies and big corporations to prevail.

You can view the details of the bill by clicking on   HR 1215 Bill.   As you will note, the bill, sponsored by big business and the insurance lobby, sets a cap of $250,000 for all claims of pain and suffering for any person bringing a Health Care Lawsuit.  Such a lawsuit will include all claims of medical malpractice, nursing home negligence and any other claim involving any other health care provider.  If we stop for just one moment and think about this.  An elderly woman who is caused to sustain serious and permanent bed sores while in a Nursing home and suffers for 2 years in awful pain, undergoing debridement (scraping of the necrotic skin) procedures will be limited to $250,000.00 in damages.  A child who suffers a loss of oxygen due to delay and error by the doctor and nurses while being delivered and is rendered handicapped and special needs for the rest of their life; will be limited to $250,000 for their pain and suffering.

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  • Bed sore

When one is admitted to the hospital, it is always due to a medical condition; either emergent or developing. Whether serious or just for monitoring the hospital and its staff must always remember, the safety of the patient is paramount.  Unfortunately, what often happens with those who are laid up is that their body begins to breakdown and develop what is knows as pressure ulcers or “bed sores”.

Bed sores develop when the body is caused to rest in one particular position for too long.  As many who are in the hospital have injuries or ailments that restrict movement, hospitals have protocol in place for observing the patient, monitoring any development of bed sores and of course, when seen, enacting a protocal ranging from rotation, to dressing application to adjusting the patient so that part of the body can heal.  The development of bed sores is not at all uncommon but with proper medical care and supervision can be avoided.  At the very least, any initial sign of a bed sore, can then be treated so as not to cause the spread or further deterioration of the skin.  Such bed sores are extremely painful and debilitating.

In pursuing a recent medical malpractice case on behalf of a patient who was in the hospital for unusual abdominal pain, Leav & Steinberg, LLP was asked to investigate how the patient could have developed not just stage 1 bed sores but sores that progressed all the way to a stage 4. Sadly our client passed away only a few months after developing the bed sores, but the family was distraught that he could have endured such a horrific and painful ending to his life, despite being under the constant care and supervision of what was supposed to be trained nurses and doctors.

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When a person has mental or physical disabilities too severe for family members to care for them, it may be necessary to seek out professional help and place that person into a group home. Placing a family member into a group home is an agonizing decision and families may spend a lot of time to find the best place with the money they can afford. There is an expectation that workers will care for the family member, but the New York Times has discovered that abusive workers are not being disciplined or fired when necessary.

New York Times 2011 Article

More than 2 years ago, the New York Times ran an investigative piece about abuses against disabled individuals in state-run group homes. It found many cases of abuse, but not many of those cases were referred to law enforcement. Out of the cases referred for termination proceedings, a miniscule number actually ended in the employee being fired.

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Where is there no liability (on the part of the premise owner or operator)? Some facilities require patrons to sign waiver clauses or exculpatory clauses before partaking in the activities they offer. Whether these clauses will apply is fact dependent.

The General Obligations Law section 5-326 explicitly voids certain exculpatory clauses. It specifically names “pools, gymnasiums, places of public amusement or recreation” and also “similar establishments”. Here is the wording of the statute:

“Every covenant, agreement or understanding in or in connection with, or collateral to, any contract, membership application, ticket of admission or similar writing, entered into between the owner or operator of any pool, gymnasium, place of amusement or recreation, or similar establishment and the user of such facilities, pursuant to which such owner or operator receives a fee or other compensation for the use of such facilities, which exempts the said owner or operator from liability for damages caused by or resulting from the negligence of the owner, operator or person in charge of such establishment, or their agents, servants or employees, shall be deemed to be void as against public policy and wholly unenforceable.”