Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog

Earlier this month in a Washington courthouse, charges were filed against a nursing home based on allegations that the home’s employees failed to prevent the sexual abuse of a resident. According to one local news source, the lawsuit claims that the plaintiff’s sister was sexually abused by another resident, which led to substantial weight loss and ultimately a premature death.

door-720-mEvidently, the plaintiff’s sister was a dementia patient in the nursing home, was bed-bound, and could barely speak. Another male resident engaged in sexual conduct with the woman on numerous occasions, and the nursing home staff allegedly did nothing to prevent it. Nor did they report the abuse to the woman’s family. In fact, one nursing supervisor allegedly told the State investigatory body that the male resident had a right to pleasure that could not be denied, “including sexual satisfaction and intimacy needs.”

Shortly after the abuse began, the woman started to lose weight quickly, and she passed away not long afterward. An investigation by the State of Washington into the nursing home’s practices resulted in a $6,000 fine being issued. The home was also required to rewrite nursing home policies and provide additional training to nurses. The plaintiffs claim that the home should be punished more harshly for the incompetence and negligence of its staff.

Continue Reading

Earlier this month, a New Jersey nursing home located in Paramus settled a lawsuit that was filed by the family of a woman who allegedly choked to death while under the care of the defendant nursing home. According to one local news report, the deceased was an 85-year-old Navy veteran who was eating his breakfast when he choked to death.

market-cafeteria-1-509113-mCourt documents filed by the man’s attorney claim that the resident was left alone during breakfast, despite the known fact that he suffered from a swallowing disorder. In fact, according to the man’s family, the nursing home was under specific instructions to have an employee watch their loved one carefully as he ate.

Two weeks after this incident, another resident choked to death. Apparently, a nursing home employee walked in the man’s room to see him choking. The employee performed the Heimlich maneuver but was too late, and the man passed away. When the state inspector arrived, nursing home management told him that they believed the man had died due to heart failure, even though the patient’s death certificate listed “acute airway obstruction” as the official cause of death.

Continue Reading

Earlier last month, a Birmingham, Alabama man pleaded guilty to the assault of a elderly person and was sentenced to serve 18 months in jail. According to one local news source, the man’s sentence was actually for 10 years in prison, but the judge suspended all but 18 months of the prison term. However, the man will also be on supervised probation for four years after his release.

wheelchair-822347-mThe charges stemmed from allegations that, back in 2012, the man and several other nursing home employees beat the paraplegic resident on the face and head. There was also evidence that the offenders removed the patient’s call button so he could not call for help. The others involved were acquitted of all criminal charges.

Separate and aside from the criminal charges, the patient’s mother filed a civil lawsuit for damages in 2014, naming all parties involved as well as the nursing home facility where the alleged abuse occurred. The lawsuit explains that prior to entering the facility, the patient suffered a major head injury that resulted in several brain surgeries, and, as a result, the patient was “both physically and mentally incapacitated.”

Continue Reading

Late last month, an article by Newsmax Health conducted an investigation into a frightening statistic that the superbug MRSA can be found in roughly 25% of all U.S. nursing homes. According to the report, the largest contributing cause to the transmission of this antibiotic-resistant bug is contaminated gloves.

bacteria-910914-mThe article, working off a study conducted by Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, notes that there is a gap in education among nursing home employees regarding the transmission and seriousness of MRSA.

The study, which took place in Maryland and Michigan nursing homes, showed that in 28% of nursing homes the MRSA bacteria was present at some level. The largest contributors were glove- and gown-contamination, with glove-contamination being more prevalent. The study explains that washing hands and changing gloves between residents is crucial to stop the spread of the deadly disease.

Continue Reading

With the advent of the internet, it has become easier than ever to review our experiences with the various companies and institutions we do business with on a day-to-day basis. In fact, some suggest that the higher prevalence of peer reviews in an industry, the better the overall quality across the industry, since business owners know they will likely be held accountable by their unsatisfied customers. Nursing homes, apparently, are no exception.

window-1099953-mThe federal government has been ranking nursing homes for years. However, despite the availability of the information, many people fail to check nursing-home rankings before checking in, or sending a loved one to stay there. A recent article by Newsweek explains that nursing home rankings may be a fairly accurate way of assessing the level of care provided at a facility.

Continue Reading

Earlier this month in Ilion, New York, the top management and owners of a nursing home facility were criminally charged for their role in an alleged cover-up involving serious instances of alleged patient abuse. According to one local news source, the charges all stem from alleged errors that occurred back in May 2013.

shredding-day-543148-mThe first incident involved a “serious medical error” that went unnoticed and untreated for several days. The second incident involved a resident who suffers from dementia engaging in unlawful sexual contact with another nursing home resident in the home’s cafeteria.

After the Attorney General’s office was notified of the alleged lapses in care, it initiated an investigation into the home. During the investigation, it is alleged that one of the part-owners of the company was eavesdropping on a conversation between investigators and a nursing home employee. It is also alleged that other management-level employees destroyed digital evidence in violation of the law.

Continue Reading

Earlier this month, a lawsuit was filed by the son of a woman who passed away while in the care of a skilled nursing facility, alleging that the care provided to his mother in her final hours contributed to his mother’s early death. According to one local news source, the 82-year-old woman was admitted to the nursing facility with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, type-2 diabetes, hypertension, aspiration pneumonia, and dysphagia.

hospital-walkway-688103-mAccording to the woman’s son, his mother was admitted to the facility on June 5, 2013. Upon admission, the facility was given orders to make sure that the woman had her scheduled feedings through a gastrostomy tube and that the tube was to be routinely checked for residual amounts of formula in her stomach. However, according to the lawsuit, “there is no indication in the initial care plan that respiration precautions were specifically addressed or that prevention guidelines were established.”

According to court documents, the day after her admission to the facility, a nurse documented that the woman was pale, wheezing, and in bed with her eyes closed. Two hours later, that same nurse came back to check on the woman and noticed that she had elevated blood pressure. The nurse provided the woman with oxygen, elevated her head, and stopped the woman’s feeding tube. A few moments later, the elderly woman became unresponsive. The primary nurse was told to call for an ambulance. After a few minutes passed by, another nurse inquired as to where the ambulance was, and it turned out that the primary nurse had not called 911 but instead called the non-emergency line and been given an approximate wait time of one hour.

Continue Reading

Earlier this year in Washington State, a nursing home was fined after it was discovered that the home failed to report resident-on-resident sexual abuse that was occurring in the facility. According to one local news report, the allegations are that one resident in particular sexually abused several other residents on more than one occasion. However, despite mandatory reporting laws, the employees failed to notify the authorities.

door-and-door-knob-1149600-mEvidently, one of the abused residents is a bed-bound dementia patient who has a difficult time speaking, standing, and communicating with others. On one of the days in question, investigators discovered that another resident had snuck into her room, dropped his pants around his ankles, and forced the woman to touch his genitals. When an employee caught the man in the act, she yelled out for him to stop, but no one outside of the nursing home walls knew of the abuse.

The woman’s sister summed up what she believed the nursing home’s duty was to their patients: “You are responsible for this adult. People are paying and they expect you to take good care of their family.”

Continue Reading

Earlier this month in nearby West Virginia, a woman filed suit against the nursing home that was in charge of caring for her sister after she discovered evidence that led her to believe the nursing home was negligent in her sister’s care. According to a report by one local news source, the woman is seeking compensatory damages for the injuries her sister sustained, including compensation for her sister’s pain and suffering, mental anguish, inconvenience, physical impairment, and loss of capacity to enjoy life, as well as the aggravation of existing diseases and physical defects. She is also seeking compensation for the medical expenses her sister incurred as well as for her sister’s premature death.

disabled-friendly-978533-mAccording to the article, the woman’s sister was admitted to the nursing home in November 2012, and she stayed there almost a year before passing away. During that time, the woman claims, the nursing home exhibited several lapses in care, including:

  • Failure to monitor her sister’s worsening skin condition;
  • Failure to implement a treatment plan for the breakdown of her sister’s skin;
  • Failure to turn and reposition her sister while she was in bed;
  • Failure to implement measures to prevent her sister from falling; and
  • Failure to keep her family informed of her sister’s worsening overall condition.

Continue Reading

Nursing homes traditionally cater to two types of residents:  short-term residents entering the facility after being treated for a disease or illness at a hospital, and long-term residents needing end-of-life care. Often, as one may expect, the needs of each of these groups are different. For example, a resident expecting only a short stay in a home may be more interested in additional features, such as putting greens and hot baths on demand. However, those needing end-of-life care are less concerned with these “extras” and are more concerned with the basic necessities.

old-folks-116318-mIn a recent article by the New York Times, it is noted that there is a current trend showing that nursing homes are focusing on catering to the short-term residents, potentially at the expense of the safety and benefits of longer-term residents. The article cites a 2014 study conducted by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, showing that 22% of short-term residents suffer some kind of harm during their stay. Another 11% suffer temporary injury. The incidents of injury to long-term residents have historically been much higher.

Continue Reading

Contact Information