From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many states passed legislation or issued executive orders shielding nursing homes and long-term care institutions from liability for COVID-19 harms that residents may have suffered. Maryland is one of several states that have introduced legislation allowing for this type of immunity. While not every COVID-19 case in a Maryland nursing home is due to another’s negligence, the fact of the matter is that the harrowing number of cases reflects the persistent low standard of treatment and care many of these facilities provide. Despite guidance from federal and state agencies, many nursing homes provide subpar care to their residents.
In light of these complicated and unclear immunities, many people are left wondering what recourse they have if their family members suffer injuries because of the neglect of a Maryland nursing home. The Maryland Nursing Home Bill of Rights provides that residents have the right to receive quality care, and facilities must treat residents with respect. Generally, nursing homes that fail to meet this standard will be held liable for the damages that their negligence causes. This duty does not mean that nursing facilities have an obligation to prevent their residents or patients from all viruses and infections. However, they must maintain policies to prevent and control infections.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provides Maryland nursing homes with guidelines on preventing the spread of disease within their facilities. These include:
- Source control by screening anyone who enters the facility;
- Identifying cases early through daily screening;
- Preventing the spread of an active infection by providing personal protective equipment and isolating residents;
- Frequently assessing supplies and ordering as necessary; and
- Monitoring sick residents several times a day to identify the appropriate level of care.
Maryland nursing homes that fail to adhere to infection control protocols or diagnose or treat a COVID-19 infection may be liable for their negligence. Claimants generally have an easier time establishing the causation element of these claims than failure to prevent infection lawsuits. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought a secondary slew of issues to nursing home residents. Many residents are not getting their meets met because of the demand on staff and medical providers. In some cases, these unmet needs rise to the level of neglect and abuse. Regardless of the pandemic, nursing homes must provide residents with appropriate care and treatment, and those that fail to do so will not be immune from liability.
Have You Suffered Injuries in a Maryland Nursing Home?
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a Maryland nursing home or assisted living facility, contact the attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen. The injury lawyers at our office have extensive experience successfully representing Maryland nursing home residents and their family members. Further, our attorneys handle Maryland lawsuits involving auto accidents, premises liability, medical malpractice, products liability, and wrongful death. We consistently provide clients with respect, compassion, and fierce advocacy for the issues that matter most to them. Contact our office at 800-654-1949 to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney on our team.