On the morning of September 12, 2009, a man (identified only as “Plaintiff”) went missing from Arms Acres, a rehabilitation center for alcoholics. The Plaintiff, in addition to being an alcoholic, also suffered from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, according to the Court’s decision. Shortly before going missing the Plaintiff became “extremely disoriented, began having hallucinations” and attempted to leave the facility. The Plaintiff apparently succeeded on leaving the facility the next morning – on September 12. Sadly, on October 18, 2009 the Plaintiff’s body was discovered. Continue reading
On June 17, 2013, a patient at Barnabas Nursing Home passed away from complications arising from her pressure ulcers. Her family has sued the nursing home and hospital and believes that their family member received negligent treatment and that the hospital and nursing home should be held responsible for her death. Continue reading
On May 10, 2011, a resident (described only as “Resident X”) in the dementia/Alzheimer’s unit at Sprain Brook Manor Nursing Home became agitated, falsely believing that the television in his room had been stolen or was otherwise missing. The resident, according to the Plaintiff, had a “known history of aggression.” The nurse in the unit proceeded to take Resident X to his room and show him that his television was, in fact, still in his room. According to the Plaintiff, this was “in a manner not appropriate for dealing with an agitated Alzheimer’s patient.” As Resident X became further enraged, another nursing home resident E. Benisatto stood up to intervene when Resident X pushed her down. Benisatto was transferred to the hospital where she was treated for a hip fracture and then subsequently returned to Sprain Brook Manor. Almost a month later, on June 1, 2011, Benisatto was readmitted to the hospital for “failing to thrive” – a diagnosis that is the result of several conditions, including malnutrition, bedsores and gangrene. Sadly, Benisatto passed away only one week later. Continue reading
On February 27, 2008, a nursing home resident (whose name is not listed) at Sunrise Manor Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation passed away. The nursing home resident had only been at the center since February 19 – a mere 8 days. The cause of death was listed as septic shock – a condition where an infection is so serious that the body’s organs shut down. The nursing home resident’s family (Henry) proceeded to sue Sunrise Manor Center to recover damages based on the liability theories of: medical malpractice, wrongful death, violation of the Public Health Law, and negligent hiring and retention. Sunrise Manor petitioned the court to dismiss all allegations against it. On February 1, 2017, the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department issued its ruling.
On the liability theory based on medical malpractice and wrongful death, Sunrise Manor must prove that either (1) there was no departure from “accepted medical practice”, or (2) if there was a departure, that the departure did not cause the resident’s death. Sunrise Manor provided expert testimony that there was no departure from the accepted standard of care. The resident’s family offered rebuttal expert testimony opining that the accepted standard of care was deviated by (1) failing to inform the resident’s physician of a high fever, and that (2) the failure to inform the physician led to the resident’s untimely death. The Court decided that there was a “triable issue of fact” – meaning that a jury (and not the judge) would decide whether Sunrise Manor had committed medical malpractice and therefore enabling the family to recover damages on the legal theory of “wrongful death.” Continue reading
Jacky Stanley, a former rehabilitation worker at Northeast Center for Special Care in Lake Katrine, New York was convicted of sexually abusing six male residents at the facility – each of whom were in the facility after suffering traumatic brain injuries. All six male residents testified in court that Stanley molested them in some way – either by performing oral sex on them, or by “rubbing or trying to touch” their genitals. Despite the prosecution providing no physical evidence and no witnesses of the abuse (other than the victims), Stanley was convicted of almost all crimes the prosecution had brought against him. The trial lasted four days and jurors deliberated for roughly eight hours over two days.
The Northeast Center for Special Care “provides care and rehabilitation to individuals who have suffered traumatic brain injuries” – generally caused by stroke, motor vehicle accidents, falls, and other catastrophic event. Stanley was an employed as a “Neighborhood Counselor” – whose duties included managing residents’ social environment and ensuring that residents participated in their required programs.
Andrew Hatcher, 28, of Brooklyn, New York, has been charged with endangering the welfare of two developmentally disabled residents under his care at Centerreach Intermediate Care Facility. Hatcher has been charged with two counts of Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person in the First Degree, a class E Felony, stemming from an incident where he tied up a resident.
According to Attorney General Schneiderman, Hatcher, knowing that he was the only caregiver on the night shift responsible for two severely physically impaired and intellectually disabled residents, “failed to care for them and failed to perform required 15-minute bed checks to ensure their safety.”
New York Nursing Homes Cannot Tell Patients They Only Provide “Short-Term” Service
According to the New York Department of Health, a growing number of New York nursing homes are illegally telling potential patients that their facility only provides short-term care. Under New York law, this is illegal – there is no such thing as a “short-term” nursing home. In order to be licensed by the state, the facility must provide both short-term and long-term skilled nursing care. Further, it is illegal to discriminate against residents that may have long-term needs.
New York Nursing Homes Cannot Discriminate on the Basis of Payment
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has dropped its appeal of a court ruling blocking its prohibition on pre-dispute arbitration clauses, thus rolling back an Obama-era regulation which sought to ban pre-dispute arbitration agreements for nursing home residents. Arbitration clauses force the persons in a contract (in this instance, the nursing home and its residents) from seeking relief from the courts. Instead, an arbitration clause requires that both parties submit to an “arbitration agency” – which are generally more corporate-friendly, usually offer lower monetary awards, and most importantly limit the right of a person to appeal an arbitration decision.
Arbitration agreements often prevent families, who believe that their loved ones have been mistreated or received poor care, from seeking legal remedies in the court system. In addition, nursing home residents are generally in a weakened negotiating position and lack full knowledge of the implication arbitration agreements. Thus, they generally only find out at a later point in time that they have signed away their rights.
A former employee of Northeast Center for Special Care (NCSP) in Lake Katrine was convicted of sexually abusing six residents of the facility who were admitted for traumatic brain injuries.
NCSP is a facility that provides rehabilitation and care for those suffering traumatic brain injuries caused by stroke, motor vehicle accidents, falls and other dire events. Jacky Stanley was employed as a “Neighborhood Counselor”, responsible for assisting residents in getting accustomed to the facility. His responsibilities included managing residents social environment and ensuring residents participated in their required programs. Continue reading
Pressure ulcers, commonly referred to as “bed sores”, are a growing problem among elderly and immobile patients, according to a study by the University of Michigan. According to the study, the amount of pressure ulcers may be up to ten times as common as the Medicare program reports.
The different rates proffered by Medicare and the University of Michigan study derive from the different methods used to detect pressure ulcers. Medicare uses billing data – which is sourced from an administrative team interpreting notes on medical records left by doctors and nurses. Because hospitals receive financial penalties for a higher number of pressure ulcers, there is an incentive for hospital administrations to downplay the number of sores within their hospitals.
The University of Michigan study, however, compared the data given by the hospital administration to “surveillance data” – basically, monitoring the skin assessments given by nurses at hospitals. This data showed that pressure ulcers were up to 10 times more common than the “administrative data” offered by Medicare suggests. According to Jennifer Meddings, M.D., M.Sc. and assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, this information shows the need for a standardized approach to diagnosing bedsores – so the data provided is both accurate and uniform across hospitals.