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Nursing Home

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

NURSING HOME NEGLECT


A loved one has been inappropriately treated at a nursing home, what are their rights?

Nursing home neglect is a tragic and all too common occurrence.  Loved ones go into nursing homes for comfort, protection, and assistance during the later stages of their lives.  All too often what results is an overburdened staff that is inattentive and unresponsive to residents' needs.

Signs of nursing home negligence range from unexplained injuries, to pressure sore development, inadequate hydration and/or nutrition, and overall mental deterioration.  The effects of these injuries oftentimes cause significant impairment of qualify of life for people that can least afford it.
Read more . . .


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Nursing Home Abuse & Negligence in Illinois: What You Need to Know

How prevalent is nursing home negligence in Illinois? And what signs should I look for? 

Nursing home abuse and neglect is sadly emerging as one of the more common personal injury scenarios in the United States. Unfortunately, experts believe that the phenomenon may be even more prevalent than is actually reported – as many victims are simply too frightened or unsure of the scenario to alert authorities or their family members. 

In Oak Forest, Illinois, the surviving family members of an alleged victim of nursing home abuse filed a wrongful death action against Symphony of Crestwood, a nursing home located in Crestwood, Illinois. According to allegations, the victim – a 53 year-old woman suffering from extreme multiple sclerosis – was left untended to, resulting in falls, bedsores, and immobility. Due to her physical limitations, she was administered a feeding tube for nutrition. In the spring of 2013, her feeding tube became dislodged – at which point staff reinserted the tube without the use of medical imaging. As a result, the survivors allege, the feeding tube was improperly placed and liquid nutrition spread throughout her body – killing her 11 days later. 

In March, 2015, three suspicious deaths occurred at the South Holland nursing home, with one being ruled a homicide. As a result, several staff members were terminated, and police are investigating the facts surrounding the deaths of each elderly resident. With regard to one already ruled a homicide, a 98-year old was administered a fatal dose of pain killers in violation of her prescription and care plan. So far, the causes of death for the other two are listed as “unknown causes,” which could change pending the outcome of the forensic review. 

Nursing home abuse and neglect can manifest any number of ways, and could involve any combination of physical, sexual, mental or financial abuse. Unexplained bruising, genital infections, or misplaced fear of facility workers could be a sign that abuse is occurring. Likewise, sudden changes to an estate plan or large asset transfers to a caretaker could indicate undue influence, also known as elder financial abuse. 

If you suspect abuse or neglect against your loved one, do not delay – contact authorities immediately. From there, contact the Chicago, Waukegan and McHenry, Illinois nursing home abuse attorneys at Ryan Ryan & Landa, to get started on a personal injury lawsuit on behalf of the victim. You can reach our office by calling (847)416-1989 today. 


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Utilizing Video Cameras to Check for Nursing Home Abuse

Is There Any Way to Monitor What Goes on in a Nursing Home?

Due to the widespread neglect and abuse of nursing home residents, more and more families are demanding a way to monitor the safety and care of their loved ones. One way this monitoring might take place is through Internet-connected cameras. A bill supported by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and sponsored by Rep. Greg Harris of Chicago was introduced in February and would allow that to happen under certain circumstances.

Camera monitoring would be permitted in nursing homes in Illinois if residents want the cameras and can pay for them under the bill. Under the proposal, the resident would need to approve the use of cameras. If a resident is not competent to make such a decision, legal guardians and family members would be able to give consent. The bill would also create a $50,000 fund for those who want a camera in their room but cannot afford one.

The proposal is sparking a debate, and supporters claim that such a system may reduce the chances of abuse or neglect. They also claim that if abuse or neglect does happen, it would be much easier to prove and to hold employees and nursing home operators responsible. These claims are being challenged due to concerns that residents, workers and visitors would lose privacy should camera monitoring be allowed.

The bill does contain some measures to address privacy concerns. For example, a sign would be posted at main entrances stating that rooms could be electronically monitored. All those living in a particular room would need to agree to a camera being installed, and if one resident wants a camera but the other does not, the nursing home would need to move the resident wanting the camera to another room.

If this bill is enacted, it could be a powerful tool for residents and the attorneys that represent them. The recorded video could be used as evidence in legal proceedings involving abuse or neglect claims. Similar camera laws are in place in four states, including New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Washington. Reportedly, the Illinois Department of Public Health gets about 19,000 calls claiming nursing home neglect or abuse each year, but it only investigates about 5,000 of them.

If you believe your loved one has been subjected to abuse or neglect at a nursing home, contact the Chicago, Waukegan and McHenry, Illinois personal injury attorneys at Ryan, Ryan & Landa at (847)416-1989 for a consultation today.


Monday, January 19, 2015

Arbitration in Nursing Home Disputes

Can a Nursing Home Force My Family to go to Arbitration with Our Legal Claim?

Nursing home contracts often include forced or mandatory arbitration clauses. These clauses require any legal dispute between the parties to go to arbitration instead of to the court system. One 2011 study found that in some areas anywhere from half to all of the nursing homes included these types of clauses in their contracts.

Arbitration is an alternate dispute resolution method. It is a private trial of sorts, with an arbitrator (normally an attorney or retired magistrate) sitting as a judge, making rulings of fact and law and making a final decision in the case (unless it settles). This method is not necessarily bad for plaintiffs, but in these contracts the rules are such that it can stack the deck against them.  Some things plaintiffs should be concerned about are:

  • Access to evidence may be limited.
  • The losing party (there is a good chance that will be the plaintiff) may be responsible for the costs and legal fees of the successful party.
  • These decisions are very difficult to appeal to the court system.
  • Arbitrators are normally chosen and paid by the nursing homes. There is a built in incentive for the arbitrator to find for the nursing home in hopes of getting more cases to work on and earn more fees.
  • Proceedings are confidential, unlike trials, so there is no fear by the nursing home of any bad publicity.
  • It may be the arbitrator, not a judge, who decides whether or not the claim should go to arbitration.

Given how common these clauses have become it may be difficult to find a nursing home for a loved one that will consent to a contract without this type of language. If you or a loved one need to quickly find an open space in a nursing home, there may be little or no time to “shop around” and find a nursing home that will allow legal claims to go to court.

If you or a loved one have a potential legal claim against a nursing home because of injuries suffered due to neglect or abuse, whether you signed a contract with an arbitration clause or not, you still may be able to get your day in court.  Call the Chicago, Waukegan and McHenry personal injury attorneys at Ryan, Ryan & Landa at (847) 416-1989 for a consultation today.  We handle all types of nursing home negligence cases.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Ryan, Ryan & Landa Settles Nursing Home Case for $450,000.00

Ryan, Ryan & Landa attorney Michael Viglione recently finalized confidential settlement of a nursing home case that earned a Lake County resident $450,000.00.

 

The case involved allegations that nursing home employees and staff physical therapists improperly stood a 76 year old resident despite admonitions from her family not to do so, and despite the nursing staff's assessing her as unsafe to be stood.  Plaintiff alleged that this improper standing culminated in a broken right ankle that eventually developed gangrenous ulcers due to complications from her diabetes and required a below the knee amputation.

  

Defendants argued that Plaintiff, who was diabetic, suffering from COPD, right-side paralyzed due to multiple prior CVA's, non-ambulatory, non-communicative, and severely osteoporotic, could not pinpoint the time or place she suffered the ankle fracture, and that the fracture could have occurred independent of any wrongdoing.   Defendants also questioned the loss of normal life to an individual who lost their right leg after admittedly being unable to stand, bear weight, or otherwise use the limb for approximately 10 years. 

  

Viglione stated that: "This settlement is confirmation that mistakes were made in my client's care and treatment.  It also confirms the profound effect the loss of her leg had, despite her long-standing physical limitations.  It was a pleasure to represent her."


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