April 16, 2014

Nursing Home Residents Bring Class Action for Preventable Hepatitis C Outbreak

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Two nursing home residents in North Dakota are alleging that the nursing home they resided in provided negligent care resulting in a Hepatitis C outbreak. According to a report by McKnight’s Long-Term Care and Assisted Living, forty-four residents in a 114-bed facility contracted the incurable disease. The residents filed the suit in a federal court in North Dakota earlier this month.

ambulance-1334534-m.jpgThey allege that the nursing home's negligent care, specifically foot and nail care, or blood work may have caused the outbreak. The plaintiffs are seeking certification as a class to continue as a class action and have claimed unspecified monetary damages. An attorney for the residents claims that even the most basic level of care could have prevented the outbreak.

The nursing home claims that the lawsuit is premature, as the cause of the outbreak is still officially undetermined. In a recent statement the nursing home claims to be “cooperative and proactive” about ensuring all protocol is followed in the wake of the outbreak. While that is true, the North Dakota Department of Health is conducting in thorough investigation into the cause of the serious outbreak.

Continue reading "Nursing Home Residents Bring Class Action for Preventable Hepatitis C Outbreak" »

April 9, 2014

Maryland Nurse Convicted of Sexual Abuse Against Pregnant Patient

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

In truly disturbing news out of Ohio earlier this week, a Maryland man was convicted of abusing a patient after having unwanted sexual contact with a pregnant patient. He plead guilty to the charge and is now serving his sentence of 11 to 60 days in jail and 2 years of probation. He will also be forced to register as a sex offender for 15 years. According to a report by the Baltimore Sun, the man was a nurse in Ohio but was found and arrested in Maryland. He is serving time in an Ohio jail for the offense.

The man had a record of assaulting patients in Ohio. Back in 2012, at Fairview Hospital in Cleveland, he was accused of touching the breast of a woman during her delivery. He also forced her to touch his penis over his pants.

In the most recent case, the man initially plead not guilty to more serious charges, but accepted a plea bargain. He does not have any patient complaints, nor a criminal record, here in Maryland. It is unclear if the man was working as a nurse after the incident but before his arrest.

Continue reading "Maryland Nurse Convicted of Sexual Abuse Against Pregnant Patient" »

April 2, 2014

Nursing Home Employee Facing Assault Charges for the Abuse of a Resident

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Earlier this month in Pennsylvania, a nursing home employee was charged with the assault of an elderly patient for whom she was in charge of caring for. According to a report by a local news agency, the nursing home employee was employed by Guardian Elder Care Center.

The court documents indicate that the patient got into a fight with the nursing aide, and the aide eventually covered her face with a pillow, took some of her belongings, and the left her room. The aide responded that the patient was scratching and biting her, and she held down the patient to prevent injury to herself. She denies covering the patient’s face with a pillow.

The elderly patient, who suffers from dementia, did not suffer permanent injury although she was traumatized by the incident. Other patients in the nursing home have expressed their surprise that the aide lashed out the way she did, explaining “I’m shocked. I didn’t think she was, I didn’t think she was that type. She didn’t look like the mean type.”

Continue reading "Nursing Home Employee Facing Assault Charges for the Abuse of a Resident" »

March 25, 2014

Nursing Home Fire Sends Two to the Hospital

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Earlier this month in New York, a nursing home caught fire and several of its residents had to be taken to the hospital. According to a report by the Riverdale Press, the Kingsbridge Heights Rehabilitation Care Center caught fire around 5:30 a.m. on March 9th.

Nearly 60 firefighters from the Fire Department of New York responded to the call, putting the fire out in just about 22 minutes. Two were taken to the hospital, one with life threatening injuries and another with more minor injuries. Only one of the injured was a resident of the nursing home, at the time of the story, it was unclear whether the severely injured victim was a resident or whether it was the non-resident.

A spokesperson for Kingsbridge Heights Rehabilitation Care Center explained that, “Representatives from the fire marshal’s office did come to inspect, and stated the staff should be commended.” However, the police are still investigating the cause of the fire and have not yet ruled out the possibility that it had something to do with the negligence of a nursing home employee or staff member.

Continue reading "Nursing Home Fire Sends Two to the Hospital " »

March 18, 2014

Recent Study Finds that 22% of Nursing Home Residents Suffer Preventable Injuries

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Nursing homes are not known for their stellar safety records. In fact, they are usually known by most for the exact opposite; for providing substandard care that can lead to resident injury and even premature death in some cases. A recent study administered by the Health and Human Services Department found that 22% of nursing home residents suffered some kind of preventable injury such as medication errors, falls, and infections.

medical-doctor-1314902-m.jpgAccording to an article by Modern Healthcare, one of the biggest problems for consumers about the nursing home industry is the lack of awareness of individual nursing home reputations. The article notes that the study suggests that nursing homes are subject to heightened government scrutiny and also create “a list of potential events to help nursing home staff better recognize harm; a review of nursing home practices by state surveyors; and encouraging nursing homes to report adverse events to patient safety organizations, among other measures.”

Others suggest that, in order to make a real difference in the quality of nursing homes, the number and types of safety incidents should be made public for each nursing home.

Continue reading "Recent Study Finds that 22% of Nursing Home Residents Suffer Preventable Injuries" »

March 11, 2014

Nine People Arrested After Death of Long Island Nursing Home Patient

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Last month, nine people were arrested for their participation in the death of a 72-year-old nursing home patient in Long Island, New York. According to an article by CBS New York, several of those involved were charged with criminally negligent homicide, and the administrator of the nursing home was charged with covering up the death.

hospital-1385736-m.jpgBack in October of 2012, the elderly victim was admitted into the nursing home after suffering from a bout of pneumonia. She was supposed to be in the nursing home for just six weeks and then return home. However, at some point in her stay her ventilator became unplugged. Employees ignored alarms for two hours and by the time they did show up, she had died.

The family of the woman was told that their loved one died of a heart attack. it was not until a whistle blower came forward and told the attorney general of New York what really happened that an investigation was conducted. Upon completion of the investigation criminal charges were pressed against seven employees.

Continue reading "Nine People Arrested After Death of Long Island Nursing Home Patient" »

March 4, 2014

Nurse Arrested for Raping 64-Year-Old Nursing Home Resident

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Last month in the Bronx, New York City, a male nurse was arrested for raping a 64-year-old female patient. According to a story by Gothamist.com, an employee at the nursing home spotted the nurse of top of a disabled 64-year-old patient around 1:20 a.m. The victim of the rape has dementia and is unable to speak. Her children told reporters:


It's just heartbreaking, it's horrible that this is happening to my mother... She was at the nursing home because my brother and I thought it was a safe haven for her, a safe place for her...

The victim’s family was contacted around 4 o'clock that morning, too their mother to a nearby hospital to have a rape examination kit completed. However, because the victim was unable to speak, hospital workers had a difficult time completing the kit, which must be completed within 72 hours in order to be of any evidentiary value.

Continue reading "Nurse Arrested for Raping 64-Year-Old Nursing Home Resident " »

February 24, 2014

Medication Errors Put Maryland Nursing Home Residents At Risk

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Across the country, nursing home medication errors are causing health problems among nursing home populations. According to a report by a local NBC affiliate out of Chicago, a recent inspection by state health inspectors discovered 384 nursing home medication errors since 2011. Two of these medication errors resulted in death and one required an otherwise unnecessary amputation.

assorted-capsules-and-tablets-1028441-m.jpgOne Person’s Story of Medication Error

The article details the story of a woman who moved her brother to a nursing home after he suffered a stroke and a heart attack and was unable to care for himself. While he was in the care of the nursing home, he developed gastrointestinal cancer. When he first began his course of treatment, he was reacting well to the medication and his condition was stabilizing.

Months later, her brother’s condition began to worsen. Later, the family discovered that the nursing home had not given him his required medication for over a year. By the time the error was caught, the cancer had spread throughout his body and was untreatable. He passed away shortly thereafter.

Continue reading "Medication Errors Put Maryland Nursing Home Residents At Risk" »

February 17, 2014

University of Maryland Study Shows Correlation Between Patient Turnover and Poor Nursing Home Quality

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Earlier this month, two studies came out of the University of Maryland that examined why many nursing homes are providing inadequate care to their residents. The answer will probably not surprise many who have stayed in a nursing home themselves or had a loved one stay in a nursing home: The studies show that high turnover rates among staff members have a detrimental effect on overall nursing home quality, as well as the quality of care offered by the nursing home.

hospital-7-230579-m.jpgA recent article by Infection Control Today details a few of the studies' findings, including one that suggests high Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) turnover results in an increase chance that a patient will suffer from a pressure ulcers, pain, or a urinary tract infection. The basis conclusion of both studies is that preventing nursing home staff turnover should be a higher priority for nursing home management.

Nursing Home Management in Maryland

While these studies indicate that an increase in CNA turnover increases the odds of health problems in nursing home patients, the fault does not all lie with the individual CNAs. Nursing home management is charged with making many of the staffing decisions that lead to the high turnover in the first place. If nursing home management does not create a healthy, pleasant working environment, high turnover is inevitable.

Continue reading "University of Maryland Study Shows Correlation Between Patient Turnover and Poor Nursing Home Quality " »

February 10, 2014

Indiana Nurse Prosecuted for Death of Elderly Nursing Home Resident

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

A former nurse is on trial for her role in the death of a 77-year-old nursing home resident that occurred last December. According to a story by WCPO Cincinnati, a witness who was at the nursing home visiting her mother witnessed the abuse that led to the patient's death.

Apparently, during the woman's visit with her mother, she witnessed the nurse "yelling at the patient, physically trying to move her from the walker in a pretty violent matter." Later, the patient lost consciousness in the bathroom, and within 15 minutes she was dead.

About one week later, once allegations of wrongdoing came to light, the nurse was fired by the nursing home facility. In a public statement, the nursing home explained that, "[t]he facility is fully cooperating with local authorities in their investigation and will continue to remain committed to providing quality care to the residents on a daily basis."

The nurse will go to trial later this year and is facing a prison sentence of up to 20 years.

Continue reading "Indiana Nurse Prosecuted for Death of Elderly Nursing Home Resident" »

February 3, 2014

Ohio Nursing Home Sued for Providing Inadequate Care

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Last month, a former resident of the Hickory Creek of Athens nursing home filed charges against several owners, operators, and supervisors of the nursing home, alleging inadequate care. Specifically that the nursing home and its employees caused him “to lose his personal dignity and extreme and unnecessary pain, degradation, anguish, and emotional trauma.” According to a report by AthensOhioToday.com, the plaintiff was admitted to the nursing home in September 2012 and was a resident until January 2013. While it is not known why the plaintiff entered the facility, he claims that he “suffered catastrophic injuries, extreme pain, suffering, and mental anguish” while a resident.

The plaintiff claims that the owners and management of the nursing home were aware of the dangerous conditions present at the time of his residency. While he cannot identify all parties in the suit—listing several “John Does” as temporary placeholders until their names are revealed—he explains that supply shortages and understaffing problems were the cause of the inadequate care. Specifically, the plaintiff’s claims against the nursing home are for corporate negligence, medical malpractice, premises liability, fraud, and breach of duty.

Similar Problems Maryland Nursing Homes

Like the nursing home above, Maryland nursing homes are notorious for providing inadequate care to their residents. The reasons for the inadequate care are numerous; however, all the reasons relate to one fact: nursing homes are for-profit enterprises. Because of this, nursing home administrators are often incentivized to provide as little as possible to the residents. As long as the beds are filled, nursing homes are getting paid.

Red Flags that Nursing Homes Are Providing Inadequate Care

In most cases, the person staying at the nursing home is in the best position to understand what kind of care the nursing home is providing. However, the reality is that many times residents of nursing homes cannot affect the change on their own. Therefore, they will often reach out to family members. Here are a few red flags that may indicate that a nursing home is not providing the necessary standard of care for your loved one:

Continue reading "Ohio Nursing Home Sued for Providing Inadequate Care" »

January 27, 2014

Central Texas Nursing Home Faces Wrongful Death Suit for Allegedly Providing Negligent Care

by Lebowitz & Mzhen

Earlier this month, the family of a recently deceased 81-year old man filed charges in a central Texas court alleging that the nursing home the family placed the man in provided negligent care that led to the man’s death. According to a report by the Waco Tribune, the family admitted the elderly man in December of 2011 after a fall had rendered him in need of constant care and attention.

The elderly man, who suffered from Alheimer’s and Parkinson’s, died in September of 2012, “after months of severe and agonizing pain and suffering” caused by a series of pressure ulcers that worsened into a more serious, life-threatening condition.

The man’s family claims that there was nothing about his condition that made the pressure ulcers unavoidable. They note that pressure ulcers are an avoidable condition that merely require the proper level of care and attention. Instead, the family claims, the pressure ulcers were a result of the negligent care provided by the nursing home facility. The man had never suffered from a pressure ulcer before being admitted to this particular nursing home.

Continue reading "Central Texas Nursing Home Faces Wrongful Death Suit for Allegedly Providing Negligent Care" »