Wrongful Death in Nursing Homes & Hospitals
Philadelphia – Pennsylvania – Harrisburg – Scranton – Pittsburgh – Erie – New Jersey
When the elderly need special care, it is frequently necessary for them to live in nursing homes and long term care facilities. We cannot be with them every day and must rely on the nursing homes where our loved ones reside to take proper care of them. Due to their age and special needs, our elderly loved ones are frequently vulnerable to abuse and neglect. Unfortunately, abuse in nursing homes throughout Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey has become quite common. Sometimes this abuse leads to serious physical injuries such as bedsores, broken hips and other bones, or even death. If your loved one died in a nursing home due to neglect or abuse, this is called wrongful death, and you and your family have the right to seek justice on her behalf. At Lowenthal & Abrams, we fight for these vulnerable people, who had the right to live their last years in peace and comfort. Contact us to learn how we can help you.
Common Causes of Death in Nursing Homes
There are a number of reasons that the elderly die in nursing homes.
Bedsores, also known as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers, are wounds that come from a person staying in the same position for too long. Pressure sores are often the result of negligence. They can be prevented if the resident receives proper risk assessment and care. Since these sores form in stages, if one begins and it is caught quickly, it can be treated and prevented from causing serious injury. But, once a wound becomes more serious, it can be extremely difficult to treat. These sores are also extremely painful to their victims. Once the sore reaches stage four, it can easily kill, especially in the case of an elderly person. If your loved one died due to a bedsore, you should speak to a nursing home abuse attorney about whether you have a claim against the hospital or long-term-care facility which failed to properly treat your family member.
The elderly are often unstable on their feet. This can be because of age, cognitive difficulties, medication or for any number of reasons. It is critical that, whether in a hospital or a nursing home, your older family members receive a proper fall risk assessment. Once the assessment is performed, steps must be taken to minimize the risk as much as possible. Failure to manage this risk can be nursing home negligence. Unfortunately, for the elderly, even a small fall can lead to death from the resulting injuries. A broken hip, for example, can be something from which an older person never recovers. If your loved one hits her head, she can suffer a deadly brain injury. The CDC reports that about 1800 people die in nursing homes due to falls each year. If your family member died due to a fall, talking to a nursing home neglect attorney can help you determine if the facility where she died is responsible for your loss.
Sometimes, it is necessary to move a resident or patient from one location to another. This includes transferring beds, helping her to or from a wheelchair, moving to an MRI or other machine. Each time an elderly person is moved, it is crucial that she be moved properly. If a nurse or staff member tries to move a patient alone, he might be unable to do so. If a Hoyer or other lift is not used properly, your loved one could fall from it and be hurt. In order to make certain that every patient is moved properly, nursing homes and hospitals should have written protocols about patient movement, which they follow every time someone is moved. As with falls, it doesn’t take a far drop to seriously injure or kill an elderly person. If your family member lost her life or was seriously injured because she was dropped, contact a nursing home abuse lawyer to find out if the harm was due to negligence.
Malnutrition and Dehydration
It is a basic fact that we need food and water to survive. If a nursing home resident is not provided with the appropriate nutrition and hydration, either because the staff do not provide food and water, or because the staff fails to notice a lack of intake on your family member’s part, your loved one can die. It is the job of nursing homes to make certain that every patient is receiving the proper nutrients and fluids every day.
Intentional Physical Abuse
Lack of proper training and background checks for staff can be a serious problem. Most staff members in nursing homes would not intentionally injure a resident. But, in some cases, if a staff member does not know how to work with patients, becomes frustrated by the requirements of his job, or is simply a violent person, he can become abusive. There have been cases where staff members have beaten, raped, or otherwise harmed residents. In addition, on occasion one resident might hurt another. Nursing homes are responsible for proper screening and management of their staff. They are also required to be aware of any risks from other patients. Residents have a right to be safe from violence.
Proper Medical Care
People who reside in nursing homes generally require close medical supervision. This might include frequent checking of vital signs, proper administration of medication, or bringing the resident to the hospital if her health becomes unstable. Medication error is a common cause of death. This might mean failure to give medication, providing the wrong dosage, or even providing the wrong medication. Failure to provide proper care can be medical malpractice. If the resident requires medical care the home cannot provide, it is crucial that she be transferred to a location where she can get the care she needs. Failure to obtain proper care can be nursing home negligence. In either case, it is important that your family member receives the care to which she is entitled while she is residing in a long term care facility. If you believe your loved one died due to a failure to provide or obtain the right medical care, a review of the medical records by a nursing home abuse attorney can help you determine whether malpractice occurred.
Deadly Nursing Home Neglect
Nursing homes, long-term-care facilities and hospitals are required to provide safe spaces and proper care for their residents and patients. If you believe that your loved one died due to nursing home abuse or neglect in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, please contact us. You shouldn’t have to seek answers and justice on your own.