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 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
A new wireless scanner may be able to detect pressure ulcers (commonly known as “bedsores”) earlier than current methods. The new technology was developed by Bruin Biometrics, a California company, and uses NASA technology. According to Bruin Biometrics, the new scanner can detect pressure ulcers up to four days earlier. Currently, pressure ulcers are mainly identified by visual inspection where nurses roll over patients and inspect their skin – a archaic and intrusive method.
Pressure ulcers are chronic wounds to a local area of skin and tissue, generally seen in patients that are bedridden or otherwise immobile. Pressure ulcers are a common, expensive, and frequently deadly medical condition. An estimated 11 percent of patients in “regulated care settings” (or, nursing homes) will develop pressure ulcers. In Ireland, pressure ulcers account for a full 4 percent of the country’s healthcare budget. Sadly, advanced pressure ulcers (stage three and stage four) can frequently be fatal and the number of fatalities caused by these ulcers is on the rise. Across the world, deaths attributable to pressure ulcers have increased almost 33 percent between 2000 and 2010.
On Christmas morning, a certified nursing assistant (CNA) at Woodbriar Health Care in Wilmington, Massachusetts improperly placed a resident in a mechanical lift when transferring her from bed to wheelchair, causing the resident to slip out of the lift and fall, breaking both her legs. The CNA attempted the transfer alone in violation of an important safety rule related to mechanical lifts.
The resident, Mary Meuse, was visited by her youngest daughter on Christmas and told by a staff member X-rays showed no broken bones. As a retired nurse who once cared for the elderly, she did not want to be hospitalized during the holiday. However, the next morning she received a phone call saying her mother was in a lot of pain and needed to be taken to the hospital immediately; the family learned of her injuries upon arrival. Continue reading
Three nursing home employees in Nassau County have been arrested in connection with the death of nursing home resident at A. Holly Patterson Extended Care Facility. Registered nurses, Sijimole Reji and Annieamma Augustine and certified nurse aide, Martine Morland were charged with neglect and endangerment of a resident. The patient relied on a mechanical ventilator to breathe and was completely dependent on the facility’s staff.
On December 20, 2015, the wheelchair bound resident became disconnected from her ventilator, setting off audio and visual alarms to alert staff of a life-threatening situation. The three employees were at the nursing station when the alarms sounded, however they did not immediately respond. Staff ignored the resident’s alarm for over nine minutes before they attempted to provide assistance to the patient. The resident was found unresponsive and unconscious; she was then transferred to Nassau University Medical Center, where she died the next day. Continue reading
The American Health Care Association (ACHA) filed a lawsuit against the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on Monday, October 17 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi. The suit was filed after CMS finalized a regulation barring nursing homes from forcing residents to enter into arbitration agreements. ACHA and four long-term care providers filed a lawsuit against the secretary of Health and Human Services as well as the acting administrator of CMS.
An arbitration clause is a clause in a contract requiring parties to resolve issues through the arbitration process, therefore preventing disputes from being litigated in court. These clauses have forced claims of sexual harassment, elder abuse and even instances of wrongful death from being handled in an open court. CMS has issued a rule that will prevent nursing homes receiving federal funding from requiring arbitration clauses be signed in their contracts. Continue reading
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency of the Health and Human Services Department, has issued a rule that will prevent nursing homes receiving federal funding from requiring resident’s to sign admission agreements with arbitration clauses. An arbitration clause is a clause in a contract requiring parties to resolve issues through the arbitration process, therefore depriving the resident of his/her right to bring a lawsuit against the nursing home. These clauses have forced claims of sexual harassment, elder abuse and even instances of wrongful death from being handled in an open court.
The fine print of arbitration clauses have also prevented disputes on resident safety and quality of care from being publicly known. This rule will provide new protections to 1.5 million nursing home residents. The agency’s new rule is the most significant overhaul of rules regarding federal funding for long term care facilities, restoring millions of Americans their right to pursue action in an open court. The rule applies to pre-dispute matters, allowing the parties to a dispute the opportunity to seek arbitration after a dispute arises. Continue reading
A Buffalo nursing home is under investigation after a resident-on-resident fight resulted in death at Emerald South Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. The fight began when 83 year old Ruth Murray accidentally wandered into a male resident’s room; both residents suffered from dementia. Murray suffered a punctured lung, multiple facial fractures, a lower back fracture, a broken neck and bruising from the fight. She was transported to Eerie County Medical Center where she passed away two days later.
The nursing facility issued a statement on the incident giving their condolences to the family and that they have been cooperating with authorities to conduct a thorough investigation. They continued to say they strive to provide a supportive, caring and safe environment for all residents. The incident is being investigated by the New York State Department of Health as well who declined to give a statement due to the pending investigation. Buffalo Police Department is also conducting an investigation; no charges have been levied at this time. The family retained an attorney, who is assisting with the investigation.
An Upstate New York Nursing Facility is being sued by the son of a 63 year-old patient, who died after choking on a grilled cheese sandwich. Maureen A. Bali, a resident at Huntington Living Center from May through December 2015, suffered from dementia. As part of Bali’s resident plan of care, she was fitted for and wore dentures to eat. She required her dentures to be able to bite and chew solid food. Federal regulation 483.35(g) – Dietary Services/Assistive devices, states “the facility must provide special eating equipment and utensils for residents who need them.” On December 19, 2015, according to the lawsuit, Huntington staff “negligently, carelessly and recklessly” fed Bali a grilled cheese sandwich without wearing her dentures. Subsequently, she choked on the sandwich resulting in respiratory distress related to aspiration. Ms. Bali died on December 22, 2015 due to complications associated with choking and aspiration of food. According to a recent advertisement for the facility, The Center, self-proclaimed, “Secure Dementia Care Specialists” has a special needs unit “committed to providing expert and compassionate care in a warm, safe comfortable environment.”
Lawson L. Bali, Maureen Bali’s son, is suing Huntington Living Center for neglect and wrongful death. The lawsuit filed on July 28, 2016 in New York State Supreme Court, claims that his mother “received negligent medical care and improper treatment from Huntington, resulting in her wrongful death.” He also claims that his mother “experienced conscious pain and suffering from December 19-22, 2015 and was deprived of her rights/and or benefits created or established for her well being, in violation of nursing home laws, rules and regulations, as well as New York Public Health Law 2801-d.”