4 Nursing Home Injuries That May Qualify a Victim for Compensation

Nursing homes should be a safe haven for elderly and disabled individuals, offering around-the-clock care that is medically sound and respectful of each person’s needs. Unfortunately, some residents experience neglect or abuse. According to the CDC, up to 3 million serious infections occur in long-term care facilities every year, many of which occur due to poor hygiene practices and staff members neglecting residents.

If a loved one suffers an injury in a nursing home, he or she may be able to recover compensation. Family members of residents may also be able to recover compensation in cases involving the death of a loved one.

Bedsores

Bedsores, clinically referred to as pressure ulcers, are extremely common in nursing homes. Elderly and disabled residents often have thin, frail skin that is prone to rips, tears, and sore development. Generally, bedsores occur when an individual is in one position for too long and the skin wears away, leaving an open sore. These nursing home injuries are especially common on pressure points like the tailbone, hips, elbows, shoulder blades, spine, and heels.

The occasional bedsore may not be cause for concern. However, if your loved one seems to always have multiple bedsores or he or she has sores that will not heal, it may be a sign of neglect on the part of the nursing home staff.

Falls

Some nursing home residents suffer slip-and-fall accidents. In some cases, a fall is a sign of a more serious problem, such as abuse or neglect. Someone with limited mobility may try to get up if caregivers refuse to help them get to the bathroom or assist with ambulation, leaving the individual to try to get up on their own. The healing process from a fall is notoriously difficult for aging individuals. A single fall can lead to permanent disability.

Broken Bones

Broken bones are a common problem in nursing homes, as aging individuals’ bones are often weaker than those of young adults. A broken bone is a serious incident that should immediately be reported to family members and health care providers. If a facility tries to hide these nursing home injuries or does not have a clear explanation for how an incident occurred, it is possible that the broken bone was caused by caregiver neglect or abuse.

Medication Errors

A substantial amount of nursing homes have a higher-than-ideal resident-to-caregiver ratio, leading to improper medication administration. Residents can suffer greatly if they miss a scheduled medication, get too much of a prescribed medication, or get the wrong medication. If a nursing home does not report and take appropriate steps to fix these mistakes, it could be a sign of neglect or abuse.

Do Not Let Your Loved One Suffer in Silence

If you suspect that your loved one’s nursing home injuries are due to abuse or neglect, advocate for them and hire an attorney. The South Carolina nursing home abuse lawyers at the Law Offices of F. Craig Wilkerson Jr. are ready to help. Call our office at (803) 324-7200 to discuss your potential legal options.

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Nursing Home Negligence: How to Identify Neglect and Abuse

nursing home negligenceAccording to a 2001 study conducted by the U.S. House of Representatives, approximately one in three nursing homes were cited for violations of federal standards that harmed or had the potential to harm a resident. One major factor that contributes to the prevalence of elder abuse and neglect in nursing homes is the lack of information known by family and friends of nursing home residents on how to identify abuse and neglect.

Signs of Nursing Home Financial Exploitation

Anyone in a position of power over a nursing home resident, such as aides or even family members, can take advantage of her for financial gain. Financial exploitation can include stealing a resident’s money or valuables, coercing her into giving away money or valuables, or cashing checks without permission. Some visible signs of financial exploitation are a resident giving uncharacteristic gifts to caretakers, a lack of amenities in the room. or transferring power of attorney or other property without fully understanding what that means.

Signs of Nursing Home Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is one of the most difficult forms of abuse to detect, but it can be the most damaging. Emotional abuse can include humiliating or demeaning a resident, habitually blaming, threatening or intimidating him, isolating him from friends and social gatherings, or simply ignoring him. Some visible signs of emotional abuse in a resident are unexplained changes in behavior, isolation and withdrawing from usual activities. Some signs of emotional abuse in a caretaker include verbal aggression toward a resident, an uncaring attitude and/or controlling behavior.

Signs of Nursing Home Physical Abuse

Physical abuse can involve scratching, pushing, hitting, slapping, inappropriate use of restraints or threatening a resident with violence. Physical signs of abuse include any kind of injury, a delay between the injury occurring and the resident receiving medical care, and a history of repeated injuries, especially if those injuries have been treated at different hospitals for no discernable reason. Behavioral signs of abuse include the resident not explaining how an injury occurred, giving inconsistent stories or offering unlikely explanations for the injury.

Signs of Nursing Home Neglect

Nursing home neglect can take many forms. Nursing home workers are often responsible for caring for their residents’ health, nutrition, personal hygiene and living conditions. Failing to appropriately care for any of these is considered neglect. Personal hygiene neglect includes failing to give a resident needed help in bathing, brushing his teeth, nail-clipping, changing clothes or any other act of basic personal hygiene. Basic needs neglect involves failing to provide residents with food, water and/or a safe environment. Medical neglect involves failing to prevent or appropriately treat medical conditions. Victims of medical neglect may experience bedsores, preventable falls and/or incorrect medication.

Do You Need a Nursing Home Negligence Attorney?

If your friend or family member is the victim of nursing home negligence in South Carolina, contact the Law Offices of F. Craig Wilkerson right away. We can investigate the standard of care at the victim’s nursing home, among other investigative acts. To get started on your case, schedule a free case evaluation online or call us at:

Nursing Home Sued for Wrongful Death, Malpractice in Orangeburg County

Nursing Home Sued for Wrongful Death, Malpractice in Orangeburg County

Photo of Wrongful Death

More than three million people in the United States currently live in nursing homes. In one survey with residents, about 44 percent indicated they had suffered from abuse and more than 95 percent indicated they’d been neglected.

The knowledge that your loved one has been abused or neglected in a nursing home can be jarring — and even infuriating. In these situations, you may have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against the offending company to seek damages for the pain and suffering your family has experienced.

One such lawsuit was recently filed in Orangeburg County by Darlene Bethea.

Wrongful Death Lawsuits Filed in Orangeburg County

Bethea represents the estate of Rena Mae Zinnerman. In her lawsuit, Bethea alleges the owner of Phaire’s Care — the assisted living facility where Zinnerman lived — was driving with Zinnerman and three other residents of the facility in his vehicle when he was involved in an accident.

Zinnerman died from her injuries less than two weeks later. The wrongful death lawsuit is holding Phaire’s Care responsible for her death. It’s unclear why the residents were in the vehicle in the first place.

Another lawsuit was recently filed by Jason Broughton, who represents the estate of Judy Broughton, against the same company. This lawsuit alleges medical malpractice.

According to documents filed in court, Judy suffered multiple injuries and medical complications after becoming a resident at Phaire’s Care in September 2015. Less than a month after moving in, she was taken to Trident Medical Center with severe wounds.

Judy passed away in December 2015. The lawsuit alleges she was not given proper medical attention and treatment from staff members at Phaire’s Care.

A local news outlet noted the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has cited the assisted living home with medical policy violations in the past. The department recorded issues like incorrectly administered medication, not keeping records on-hand, and not properly feeding residents.

The home was fined $23,500 in 2014 for similar violations.

What Constitutes Medical Malpractice?

There is often some overlap in nursing home neglect and medical malpractice. In both cases, staff members have a certain “duty of care” — and when that care isn’t provided, patients get hurt.

In order to prove medical malpractice has taken place, there should be provable negligence or recklessness on the part of staff. In the case of negligence, mistakes that rise to the level of medical malpractice could include the failure to diagnose a harmful condition, misdiagnosis, or unacceptable errors during surgery. These issues are commonly the focus of medical malpractice lawsuits.

Recklessness, on the other hand, is rare. It could involve a doctor performing surgery or a risky medical procedure while under the influence of drugs or alcohol — or a doctor that administered potentially lethal amounts of medication against acceptable medical practices.

It’s important to note that medical malpractice does not include when a patient naturally worsens in condition or when the condition is untreatable. 

Contact an Experienced Rock Hill Malpractice Attorney for Representation

If you or a loved one suffered harm due to nursing home abuse or medical malpractice, then it’s important to get in touch with a dedicated personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Contact our team at The Law Offices of F. Craig Wilkerson Jr. in Rock Hill, Fort Mill, Lancaster, or Union by calling (803)-324-7200.

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Hidden Camera Confirms Nursing Home Abuse in Greenville County

Hidden Camera Confirms Nursing Home Abuse in Greenville County

Photo of Nursing Home Abuse

There are few things more horrible than discovering your loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse. For a man suspicious that his 89-year-old mother was being abused at a nursing home in Greenville County, the fear was severe enough to place a hidden camera.

The Case

The man first became concerned after learning his mother had suffered a number of recent injuries. Afraid she was a victim of nursing home abuse, he placed a hidden camera in her bedroom at Rolling Green Village Memory Care Assisted Living.

In South Carolina, recording interactions between two parties is legal as long as one of the parties is aware of the presence of a camera. After reviewing the footage, the man confirmed two staff members — identified as 37-year-old Diana Rochelle Garrett and 50-year-old Stephanie Ann Lowden, were abusing his mother.

Upon viewing the footage, which showed “Garrett and Lowden using physical force and psychological abuse” on the woman, the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office charged the women with abuse of a vulnerable adult.

The abuse shown in the footage stemmed from an incident in which the patient did not want to take a shower. She was injured when Garrett and Lowden forced her to take one anyway, causing “fear, agitation, and confusion” — according to the arrest warrant.

As of June 17, Lowden was being held at Greenville County Detention Center and Garrett had not been taken into custody. According to the sheriff’s office, the case is thought to be an isolated incident and the department has not learned of any additional residents experiencing similar abuse.

Both employees are now being described as “former staff members” of the assisted living center, though the facility has yet to make a public comment on the case.

Warning Signs of Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

There are many signs of nursing home abuse and neglect. But first, it’s important to understand the difference between the two.

Abuse is considered the intentional infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation, care and service deprivation, or punishment that results in physical harm or mental anguish. Neglect is defined as the failure — whether intentional or not — to provide a person with the care necessary to ensure freedom from harm or pain.

A nursing home resident can be the victim of both neglect and abuse. Common signs include:

  • Dehydration
  • Malnutrition
  • Recurring Falls
  • Emotional Withdrawal
  • Refusal to Communicate
  • Rapid Weight Loss
  • Unsanitary Conditions
  • Unexplained Injuries
  • Heavy Medication or Sedation

The easiest way to ensure your loved one is not being mistreated is to visit often and pay close attention to any changes in attitude or behavior. If you suspect nursing home abuse, report your concerns to the proper authorities. 

In South Carolina, the State Long Term Care Ombudsman (SLTO) investigates reports of nursing home abuse and can be reached through the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division at (866)-200-6066. If you have an urgent, immediate concern, call 911.

Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Expert for Assistance

The discovery that your loved one has been abused in a nursing home is both heartbreaking and infuriating. A nursing home abuse lawsuit can help bring closure to your family by holding the responsible parties accountable for their actions. For assistance in building your potential case, call The Law Offices of F. Craig Wilkerson Jr. in Rock Hill, Fort Mill, Lancaster, or Union at (803)-324-7200.

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