Dedicated Aggresive
Legal Representation

The attorneys at Gallivan & Gallivan provide effective, aggressive representation to individuals injured in the New York area. Our priority is to maximize the recovery of our clients injured due to the neglect of others.

On January 4, 2016 Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced several guilty pleas in connection with  allegations against Mohawk Valley Health Care Center (MVNH) for falsifying business records and covering up nursing home resident abuse and neglect. In a separate civil settlement, MVNH Associates, LLC also agreed to pay a $1,000,000 fine to Medicaid for accepting overpayments from the program. The company will also be required to hire an independent monitor to implement reform and divest ownership of the two convicted defendants and a related investor.

The indictment included details of two incidents that occurred in May 2013 and the alleged cover up of those incidents. The first incident included a medication error that went unnoticed for several days and was then covered up.  The second incident involved a resident with dementia who took part in unlawful sexual conduct with another resident. MVNH’s guilty plea resolved these issues, which initially were part of a 45 count indictment. The plea involved admitting to adding an employee’s name to a staffing sheet who was not working. MVNH also had to pay a $5,000 fine. Two owners of the facility, a former administrator and director of nursing, pled guilty to separate charges. Continue reading

The family of an infant child filed a lawsuit after the loss of their newborn in February of 2014 after emergency medical technicians and doctors made a series of medical errors, resulting in the infant’s death.

On January 3, 2014, Sara Keenan breastfed her newborn baby Lana and put her down for a nap; an hour later her husband, Padraig Kennan, went to check on the newborn and found her choking on her own vomit. A houseguest who worked as an EMT was able to revive Lana and the family was able to call 911; this phone call would change their lives forever.

Exchange Ambulances of the Islips transported the infant to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, an hour away from their home; the infant could have been taken to Good Samaritan Medical Center or Stony Brook University Hospital, both closer to the family’s home and equipped with pediatric intensive care units. In addition to the lengthy transport, EMT’s failed to intubate the baby, give her oxygen or wrap her in an effort to protect her from the cold on the walk to the ambulance parked four doors away.

Continue reading

Hopkins Center for Rehabilitation & Healthcare in Brooklyn was recently fined $10,000.00 by the New York State Department of Health for a citation issued during a 2012 inspection.  The incident involved an 87 year-old female resident whose advanced directives were not completed and therefore not followed. The resident’s grand-daughter had executed a Do Not Resuscitate order (“DNR”).  However, the staff at the facility failed to have the order signed by a physician.

One week later, the resident unfortunately went into cardiac arrest.  Staff at the nursing home performed CPR (cardio pulmonary resuscitation), which was against the resident’s wishes.  The resident was successfully resuscitated, but suffered a fractured rib.  The Department of Health investigated the incident and found it resulted in “actual harm” to the resident.

Continue reading

The shift change is one of the most crucial times of day at a hospital or nursing home.  At its best, it is the time when nurses from the outgoing shift and the incoming shift communicate with each other to ensure they stay on the same page with respect to the patient’s needs and any changes in needs or behavior.   At its worst, it either does not happen at all or when it happens, the appropriate information is not exchanged, which can result in errors and oversights in care. The traditional shift change consisted of nurses conferring in the hallway outside of patients rooms or at the nurse’s station and in some instances, writing up a medical report for the next nurse to read; these methods can result in important information to be left out. Hospitals in Washington are implementing a new method of shift change in order to prevent these occurrences, called bedside shift reports.

bedside reporting

Studies have shown that bedside shift reports make patients feel safe, included, and satisfied. During bedside shift reports, both nurses meet with the patient to handover information from the previous shift. This method helps nurses to communicate better with one another, as well as the patient and the patient’s family. In addition, this method also helps to prevent falls and other injuries. Beverly Johnson, CEO of the Institute for Patient and Family Centered Care in Bethesda, Maryland stated this method is a simple way to ensure that accurate information is passed on and that both nurses understand the care plan for each patient. Continue reading

A Registered Nurse (RN) at St. Ann’s Community Home in Rochester, New York recently entered a plea of guilty in a criminal court case involving neglect of an elderly resident. RN Christine Deisenroth was prosecuted by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the New York State Attorney General’s Office. AG Eric T. Schneiderman charged the nurse with Falsifying Business Records, a Class A Misdemeanor under the Penal Law.  Deisenroth failed to administer the medication Lovenox, a blood thinning medication, to a resident on numerous occasions.  Despite orders directing her to provide the medication she allegedly failed to do so, then covered up the failure by charting in the resident’s medical records the administration of the medication.

Charting is very important in the nursing home environment.  It provides a written account for the staff to refer when caring for a patient.  As an integral part of what is referred to as the “continuity of care”, the integrity of the chart allows for seamless transition between shifts when performed properly.

Continue reading

Two employees at Beechwood Homes, an Amherst, NY nursing home, were recently convicted for crimes committed while they were supposed to be caring for residents.  Kimberly Fay, a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), was convicted for stealing hydrocone.  Ms. Fay falsely documented discarding tablets of hydrocone in part of a residents’ chart.  Instead of discarding the narcotics, she took them for personal use.

Onjelque Harris, a certified nurse’s aide (CNA), failed to toilet a resident.  She then falsely documented she did provide the toileting care.  As a result of the resident not being toileted, she was found covered in feces with blistered skin.

Many of the cases our firm handles involve falls and fractures suffered by residents of New York nursing homes.  The causes of the falls range from the staff’s failure to answer a resident’s call bell, to failing to properly assess a resident for his/her need to be toileted, to failing to order the use of alarms in the bed or wheelchair, to failing to have enough staff.  While not all falls are preventable, we believe nursing homes should be held accountable in instances where the appropriate nursing practices are not carried out.

Continue reading

Across the country, nursing home employees have been violating the rights of nursing home residents through social media, posting humiliating pictures and videos of residents against their will and without their knowledge. In 2012, a non-profit investigative newsroom found 35 instances of nursing home employees dehumanizing residents on social media networks; uploading pictures of residents fully and partially nude. These instances bring to light the potential threat that social media presents to patient privacy. Although nursing home abuse is nothing new, exploitation of residents through social networks is a new form of abuse, one that leaves a digital trail.

Nursing homes are generally unaware of their employee’s activity on social media, being that most homes do not use social media, especially newer social media outlets such as Snapchat. Snapchat is a video messaging application that allows users to take photographs, record videos, add text and drawings and send them to a specific list of recipients. Snapchat media does last more than ten seconds and are only available for 24 hours, after which they disappear. A snapchat posting is not as easily accessible as a Facebook or Twitter posting because the post can be shared with only a select group of friends. The incidents that are reported to homes’ management are often reported by fellow staff members or other members of the community. Continue reading

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced new agreements with Auburn Community Hospital in Auburn, New York and Our Lady of Lourdes Memorial Hospital in Binghamton, New York, which will assist in supporting equal access to healthcare in terms of language assistance and financial aid, as both hospitals aid diverse communities.  Implementing new policies will ensure that hospital services are available to all regardless of limited English proficiency or an inability to pay.

According to the 2013 Census, roughly two and a half million New Yorkers did not speak English as their primary language and have a restricted ability to read, write, or understand English.  Binghamton, New York has a population of 44,562 over the age of five, 13.7% of whom speak a language other than English as their primary language and 5.4% who do not speak English “very well”.  2013 Census records also suggest that 10.1% of Binghamton’s population did not have health insurance and demonstrated that between 2012 and 2013, 33.3% of Binghamton residents lived under the federal poverty level. The 2013 Census figures for Auburn, New York demonstrated that 6.9% of its residents do not speak English as their primary language and 2.8 % speak English less than “very well.” Auburn residents who had no health insurance constituted 11.3% of the city’s population, while 20.0% were living under the federal poverty level. Continue reading

Two former Direct Service Assistant’s at Melville Estates, a state run group home for the mentally disabled, were convicted of Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person. James P. Brown Jr. was found guilty of violently and aggressively punching a 53 year old developmentally disabled resident at a bench trial before Suffolk County Court. In a separate legal action, Allexy Chambers pled guilty to severely punching a 56 year old resident, who did nothing besides sit in the chair, in February 2014.

A person will be found guilty of Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person in the first degree when he knowingly acts in a manner likely to be harmful to the physical, mental or moral welfare of a person who is incapable of caring for himself or herself because of physical disability, mental disease, or defect. (N.Y. Penal Law § 260.25) This law is directed at protecting people who are incapable of caring for themselves for physical reasons, mental disease, or defects as they are an extremely vulnerable part of society. Continue reading

An investigation conducted by Attorney General Schneiderman’s office resulted in the arrest of nine nurses in connection with the death and attempted cover up of the death of Aurelia Rios, a 72 year old nursing home resident at Medford Multicare Center for Living in 2012. A dual-jury trial took place in July 2015 in Suffolk County Court.

Rios, a retired dental assistant and mother of three, was sent to Medford Multicare Center for six weeks of temporary rehab to treat pneumonia.  On October 26, 2012 Rios’ ventilator became disconnected, which she depended on to breathe while asleep. The alarm signal on the ventilator was ignored by nurses, therapists, and aids for a period of two hours, resulting in her death shortly after. The incident was reported a few days after Rios’s death by an off-duty employee who was surprised by Rios’s death. Continue reading