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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.

As more than 10,000 Americans join the 65-and-over club daily, financial exploitation of the elderly is becoming increasingly more common and states are making moves to protect their senior citizens. Financial abuse, one of the four types of elder abuse (the other three include sexual abuse, physical abuse and emotional abuse) involves the “illegal or improper use of a senior citizen’s funds, property or assets, as well as fraud or identity theft perpetrated against older adults,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Currently 33 states have laws directly addressing financial abuse of the elder – a nine-state increase since 2015.

wallet-300x225Advocates say that the largest problem with prosecuting financial abuse of the elderly is that it often goes unreported. First, many elderly victims do not even know that a crime has been committed. For example, Mariana Cooper, an elderly widow living by herself, gave a $217,000 loan to a woman who had slyly gained her trust. It was not until six months after she realized she was not going to be repaid that Ms. Cooper alerted the police. Even then, Ms. Cooper only filed a report at the urging of her daughter who, again, only found out until six months after-the-fact. Telling her story to the New York Times, she said she felt because she freely gave the money away that no crime had been committed and she was too ashamed to tell her family how she had been cruelly defrauded.

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With toothless regulations and ineffective oversight, many nursing homes are still failing the neediest patients. With its budget for overseeing nursing homes slashed in half, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has failed to identify failing nursing homes and keep them accountable. As a consequence, some nursing homes are choosing to accept the infrequent fines instead of changing their behavior.

helpCMS is responsible for overseeing all nursing homes that receive benefits from these federal entitlement programs. CMS routinely inspects nursing homes for any violations, if a violation is found, then CMS has two options. First, CMS can put the facility on “special focus” status – reserved for the worst offenders. A nursing home with this designation would be routinely inspected more often and, supposedly, would be punished more severely for any violations. Unfortunately, federal budget cuts have blunted the amount of nursing homes that can be put under “special focus.” Since 2012, the budget for inspecting facilities with this designation has dropped by half. Consequently, despite regulators identifying 435 facilities that warranted this designation, only 88 nursing homes were actually put on the watchlist. Further, once a Continue reading

In a new study released by Columbia University School of Nursing, a quarter of nursing homes had a “significant presence” of multidrug-resistant bacteria. The study reviewed eight prior studies, and the reported rates of drug-resistant bacteria ranged from 11 percent to a whopping 59 percent – with 27 percent the average. Multi-drug resistant bacteria are especially dangerous to nursing home patients, where patients frequently have other medical ailments, a weakened immune system, and increased exposure to germs and bacteria. These drug-resistant types of bacteria can cause serious infections such as pneumonia, bloodstream infections and menangitis.

pills8-300x225Unfortunately these results are not surprising. The CDC warns that multi-drug resistant bacteria are on the rise throughout the world, owed largely to the widespread (and commonly unnecessary) use of antibiotics. The once easily-defeated bacteria have adapted and now built a resistance to commonly prescribed antibiotics. Unfortunately, drug makers are also pushing fewer new antibiotics to market. Put together, health experts warn of an impending health crisis. Continue reading

physical-abuse-300x169A Berkshires caretaker has been charged with elder abuse after an 84-year-old man told hospital staff that his two broken ribs were caused by being “thrown around like a rag doll.” The 52-year-old man, Anthony Marcella II, was arraigned in Central Berkshire District Court on charges of assault and battery on a person over 60 or disabled, witness intimidation, caretaker abuse of an elder, and caretaker abuse of an elder causing serious bodily harm. Marcella has pleaded not-guilty to all charges and was released on a bail.

On May 22 or 23, Marcella was allegedly “rough” when picking up the elderly victim (whose name is not provided) after he fell down. According to court documents, Marcella squeezed him in an aggressive manner and proceeded to throw him around “like a rag doll.” The elderly victim suffered two broken ribs as a result of his caretaker’s abusive treatment. Continue reading

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.

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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.”

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