Articles Posted in Wrongful Death in Nursing Homes

When a Maryland nursing home accepts a resident into its care, the nursing home takes on a responsibility to provide a certain level of care for the resident. In most cases, this duty requires that nursing home staff provide the resident with any care, including medical care, needed by the resident. However, in certain situations, a nursing home’s duty expands, depending on the circumstances.

CaretakerA good example of when a nursing home’s duty can expand is detailed in a recent article discussing a tragic situation in which eight nursing home residents died in the wake of Hurricane Irma, due to a power failure in a nursing home. According to the recent report, despite ample notice of the storm’s severity and the potential for upcoming disaster, the nursing home did not secure any back-up power source.

Thus, when the nursing home lost power a day into the storm, residents were left without the electricity necessary to power medical devices as well as the home’s air conditioning system. By some accounts, temperatures reached up to 106 degrees. Several residents were able to be moved to a hospital that was across the street that had secured back-up generators in anticipation of power loss. However, eight residents died as a result of the power outage in the nursing home.

Continue Reading

Often, nursing home residents are elderly and sick, which is why many families bring their family members to a nursing home in the first place. Thus, a family member’s death in a nursing home may not always be cause for alarm. However, the fact that a family member was sick or elderly before their death does not absolve the nursing home of all responsibility.

Hospital BedsThe purpose of a wrongful death claim is to compensate family members for the loss of their family member’s life due to the wrongful act of another person. Originally, under Maryland law, a person’s dependents were not entitled to bring a wrongful death claim. However, in 1852, Maryland enacted the Wrongful Death Act. In Maryland, a wrongful death claim can be made “against a person whose wrongful act causes the death of another.” Normally, the claim must be made within three years of the family member’s death.

Claim Against Nursing Home for Failure to Resuscitate

One family recently brought a lawsuit against a nursing home after a mother died in the nursing home’s care, according to one news source. The family alleges that the nursing home’s staff failed to attempt to revive their mother after she was found “lifeless.”

Continue Reading

Nurses employed by private nursing homes often have very difficult jobs. Private nursing homes are for-profit businesses that are primarily motivated by the bottom line. This means that the lower that staffing costs are, the more money that nursing home management or investors can take home at the end of the day. This pressure can incentivize nursing home management to keep as few nurses on the clock as possible.

Wrinkled HandsFor a nurse who is just trying to do her job, fewer nurses on the floor means more work. Often, nurses will have to take on additional patients due to “staffing shortages.” Since nurses are human, the more stress placed upon them, the more likely that they are to make a mistake.

Of course, being busy and overstressed is not an excuse to make a mistake that can cost someone their life, but it does tend to explain why so many serious instances of neglect and serious medical errors occur in nursing home facilities across the country.

Continue Reading

Earlier this month, the Arkansas Supreme Court issued an opinion dismissing what may have been a meritorious wrongful death case based on the fact that the document giving the plaintiff power of attorney was not validly executed. In the case, Quarles v. Courtyard Gardens Health & Rehab, the lower court dismissed the plaintiff’s case based on two reasons, one of which was the fact that the power of attorney document was notarized after the decedent had signed it, rather than simultaneously, as the law requires.

document-428331_960_720The Facts of the Case

Bernie Jean Quarles, the decedent, spent 11 months at the defendant nursing home before she was moved to another facility. In June 2010, Quarles allegedly executed a power of attorney document in favor of her son, the plaintiff. A short time later, while his mother was still alive, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant nursing home on behalf of his mother, whom he claimed was “incapacitated.” The lawsuit alleged that the nursing home’s negligence resulted in the woman’s deteriorating health.

When the man’s mother died a few months later, he sought to substitute himself as the primary plaintiff. The parties were ordered to engage in arbitration to see if they could reach a mutually acceptable result. As a part of the mediation, the parties exchanged discovery. However, before arbitration began, the defendants asked the court to dismiss the case based on the fact that the power of attorney was never validly executed.

Continue Reading

While nursing homes are supposed to be a safe place for our loved ones, sometimes that is not the case. Two of the most serious problems almost all nursing homes face are understaffing and inexperienced nurses. These problems can result in serious symptoms seen in the home’s day-to-day management. For example, overworked and inexperienced employees often feel as though they never get a break, and they may become frustrated with not just the home’s management but also their patients.

i-m-still-mobile-1429305This frustration is dangerous. Most nursing home residents are placed in homes because they cannot care for themselves and require that others help them with their day-to-day tasks, such as bathing, using the bathroom, personal grooming, taking medication, and visiting the doctor. When a nurse or other nursing home employee is too frustrated to deal with an employee, they may neglect the needs of that individual. In a vulnerable population like the elderly, this can result in serious or fatal consequences.

Maryland law allows for the families of nursing home abuse and nursing home negligence victims to file a civil lawsuit against the home as well as the offending employees. Of course, in order to bring such a lawsuit, a plaintiff will need to establish that they are related to the resident. They must also prove that the nursing home’s negligence or intentional misconduct resulted in the injuries sustained by their loved one. If they are successful, the family member may be entitled to monetary compensation for the suffering their loved one was forced to endure.

Continue Reading

Earlier this month, a Kentucky judge ordered a nursing home to pay the estate of one of the home’s prior residents $18 million after it was determined that the home was responsible for the wrongful death of the resident. According to one local news report, the woman spent the five years prior to her death in the nursing facility, but towards the end of her life she suffered greatly due to a lack of care.

wheelchair-1576246Evidently, the deceased resident was allegedly forced to remain in soiled briefs for extended periods of time before a nursing home employee attended to her needs and changed her. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit claim that there was evidence this was the policy of the nursing facility in order to save on the costs of the one-time-use briefs.

It is also alleged that the woman developed severe bed sores, resulting in her nerve endings becoming exposed. Ultimately, she did develop a number of serious infections, including E. coli. She also had developed severe skin rashes and lost the use of her arms and legs while in the facility.

Continue Reading

Earlier this year in a Maryland nursing home, the family of an 85-year-old woman who died in an nursing home filed suit against the facility that was supposed to be caring for their loved one. According to one local news report, the family claims that their loved one died without any staff member at her side, despite hours of complaints of pain and requests for help from family members.

hospital-437674-mEvidently, the family of the woman was at the nursing home just 30 hours before her death, and they recorded their loved one in agony, moaning and crying for help. Allegedly, despite the woman’s efforts, as well as those of her family members, no nursing home staff member came to attend to or to assist the woman. Eventually, her family left her side, and 30 hours later she died.

The woman’s family filed a case against the nursing home, alleging that the home’s negligence was the cause of the woman’s early death. The woman’s daughter-in-law told reporters that she was pleading with the nursing staff, “Why can’t you help her? Why you gotta get somebody? Why can’t you just help her?”

Continue Reading

Earlier this month in West Virginia, a woman sued a local nursing home, claiming that the home was responsible for the death of her loved one. Specifically, she claimed that the nursing home was negligent for intentionally understaffing the home, increasing the danger of a serious incident occurring.

ambulance-1334534-mAccording to one local news report, the deceased became a resident of the nursing home in April of this year. During her short stay at the nursing home, she suffered from falls, pressure sores, pneumonia, weight loss, and a urinary tract infection before she passed away on September 17.

The plaintiff in the lawsuit claims that the defendant nursing home was aware of budgetary constraints that had resulted in short staffing. These staffing problems had led to deficits in patient care. However, when the nursing home explained its services to the plaintiff prior to her deciding to place her loved one there, it presented itself as a dedicated and capable facility.

Continue Reading

A few years back, in 2010, a 94-year-old woman died while a patient in a San Diego nursing home after she was run over by a large food cart. According to a report by one local news source, the woman’s family recently reached a settlement agreement with the defendant nursing home.

corridor-1161724-m-thumb

Evidently, the nursing home uses large carts to transport the residents’ meals and other equipment. These carts are over six feet tall and about 2-3 feet wide. The carts do not have slats or any way for people pushing the cart to see through or around the cart as they are moving it. Therefore, it is nursing-home policy that any time a cart is moved, two employees should be assigned to the cart.

However, when the 94-year-old woman was struck by the cart, it was only being pushed by one person. In fact, it seems as though the facility rarely, if ever, used two employees to control the cart.

Continue Reading

Recently, a Massachusetts jury delivered one of the largest verdicts in state history to a family who lost their loved one after a nursing home failed to provide adequate care for her during her final years. According to a report by the Boston Globe, the nursing home, which is located in Danvers, provided grossly negligent care resulting in the woman’s death.
intensive-care-unit-70966-m.jpg

Evidently, the woman was taken to the hospital when she fell out of her wheelchair. Upon being examined by ER doctors, the woman was found to have an open pressure sore on her back, acute appendicitis, a severe urinary tract infection that had invaded her blood stream, kidney failure, uncontrolled diabetes, and severe dehydration.

Doctors did their best to treat the woman. However, she died one month after she was admitted to the hospital. The family of the woman brought suit, claiming that the home’s gross negligence in failing to properly care for their relative caused her death. The woman’s family recounts times that they expressed their concern over their loved one’s health but were told by nursing home employees that nothing was wrong.

Continue Reading

Contact Information