Covid-19 Nursing Home Death Lawsuit

After NY Repeals Immunity, Judge Allows Covid-19 Lawsuit Against Nursing Home To Proceed

During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, then-Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law giving nursing homes in NY immunity from liability for Covid-19 related deaths.

The Emergency Disaster Treatment Protection Act (EDTPA) meant that families of patients who died from Covid-19 while under a nursing home or rehabilitation center’s care could not pursue damages even if the actions of health care professionals contributed to their deaths.

The NY assembly voted to repeal the act, and the Senate similarly followed. The repeal became effective in March 2021.

The repeal of immunity for health care providers opened the door for negligence lawsuits related to Covid-19 deaths in nursing homes. However, it is unclear how these lawsuits will resolve and how the courts interpret the application of the EDTPA and its repeal.

Complaint Against Nursing Home Alleges Gross Negligence And Wrongful Death

At least one judge has decided that a lawsuit can proceed to the discovery stage. News station WKBW out of Buffalo, NY, reported that an Erie County judge denied a nursing home’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed against it over the Covid-19 death of a resident.

The complaint was filed in April 2021 by Cecelia Robertson on behalf of her sister’s estate, 64-year-old Annette Herron. Herron was a resident at the Humboldt House and Rehabilitation Nursing Center in Buffalo, NY, where she died from Covid-19 in April 2020.

The complaint alleges that Humboldt House failed to properly manage the Covid-19 outbreak that occurred in the nursing home. The complaint accuses the nursing home of negligence, wrongful death, gross negligence, and malpractice.

New York Judge Denies Nursing Home’s Motion to Dismiss Covid-19 Lawsuit

The nursing home filed with the court a motion to dismiss the complaint claiming all health care providers were immune from liability for Covid-related deaths under the EDTPA. The death of Annette Heron occurred during the time the EDTPA was in place, protecting the nursing home from potential liability.

The plaintiff argued that the immunity law did not protect the nursing home for two reasons:

  1. When NY repealed the immunity law, it intended to make it retroactive.
  2. Even if immunity did exist under the EDTPA, it only applies to acts of negligence. This complaint contains allegations of gross negligence, which would not fall under the immunity law.

The lawyer for the victim’s estate stated, “our claims for gross negligence was not included under the immunity law even if it did still exist. And reckless conduct, intentional or willful conduct was never excused under the immunity provisions.”

The judge denied the plaintiff’s motion to dismiss and allowed the case to move forward into the discovery phase. The decision applies to this case only but might have interesting ramifications on additional lawsuits against nursing homes for Covid-related deaths in NY.

Call Alonso Krangle, LLP If Your Loved One Died While Living In A NY Nursing Home

Call our nursing home neglect and abuse attorneys today if someone you love died or was seriously injured in a NY nursing home during the Covid-19 pandemic. We offer free evaluations of nursing home claims to determine if you are entitled to seek compensation for the injuries or death of your loved one.

Call Alonso Krangle, LLP today at 800-403-6191 to protect your legal right to file a Covid-19 lawsuit against a nursing home.

 

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You can read the entire complaint here:

https://iapps.courts.state.ny.us/nyscef/ViewDocument?docIndex=n6UBuFB3Xl3N2hvh_PLUS_CZTuQ==&TSPD_101_R0=08533cd43fab20001062bacf72a746f687a8e4cf6db6db642021ed8d5184bff3020b7c2115e8107f0895178f3d14300013c3990d580f40fc0ca1d4507c81beb6ce44654c7e1ca184fcbf7289d74c639067d6be881d1db3bfa68c9f1155629578

What Parents Should Know About NEC

What Every Parent Should Know About Necrotizing Enterocolitis

Most necrotizing enterocolitis (80% of cases) occurs in premature babies who are fed with formula instead of breast milk within the first two weeks of life. Recent reports indicate that, specifically, cow-milk-based formulas made by Enfamil, Similac, and others greatly increase the risk of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) in premature babies.

For various reasons, many hospitals use cow-based formulas when feeding premature babies in the NICU, and parents never know that their babies are at risk for NEC.

Some families of babies who developed NEC are filing lawsuits against the makers of formulas like Similac and Enfamil and doctors and hospitals. The lawsuits seek to hold them accountable for the injuries to their babies and failing to warn about the increased risk of NEC.

What is Necrotizing Enterocolitis?

Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is the most serious intestinal disease facing babies born prematurely. Intestinal tissue becomes inflamed or injured, which can lead to the death of the tissue and/or perforations in the intestinal walls.

When a baby has NEC, the intestines can leak waste and bacteria into the body and bloodstream. It can result in serious immediate medical complications, longer-term complications, and even death.

How Do Doctors Diagnose NEC?

Doctors will examine your baby and check for symptoms of NEC, which might include abdominal swelling. The doctor might test the following:

  • Blood: blood tests can indicate whether there is bacteria or other indications that there is an infection
  • Feces: fecal tests can determine if there is blood in the baby’s stool. It is not always visible to the naked eye.
  • Abdomen: X-rays can show air bubbles in the abdomen, which can mean there is intestinal damage

What Complications Are Caused By NEC?

If the intestines are perforated, immediate surgery is often necessary to treat NEC. Doctors might have to remove dead tissue, repair holes, remove part of the intestines or perform a combination of procedures. A temporary “ostomy” is often required, as are additional surgeries.

In addition to surgical complications, NEC can also cause

  • Sepsis-a severe blood infection that can affect the entire body and cause death if not treated quickly and effectively
  • Difficulty absorbing nutrients and calories which can interfere with the development of premature babies
  • Scarring and narrowing of the intestines
  • The need for blood transfusions
  • The need for high doses of antibiotics
  • Intravenous feedings
  • The need for a nasogastric tube to remove fluid and air from the babies’ abdomen

Does NEC Cause Longer-Term Health Problems?

Sometimes complications from NEC can affect the longer-term health of a baby. There are some common conditions that result from NEC.

Intestinal stricture

Intestinal stricture is a narrowing of the intestines and occurs mostly in babies with NEC that don’t initially require surgery to remove dead intestinal tissue.

Intestinal stricture makes it difficult for food to pass through the system properly. It can also lead to a more serious intestinal blockage or bowel obstruction. The symptoms of an intestinal structure can be pain, bloating, bloody stool, and failure to thrive. Surgery is often required to remove a blockage.

Short bowel syndrome

Short bowel syndrome or short gut syndrome is a condition that can result from NEC -related surgery. It is a malabsorption condition that occurs because your body does not have sufficient small intestine to absorb calories and nutrients into the body, which is where most absorption occurs.

Short bowel syndrome can make it extremely difficult for young children to thrive, resulting in dehydration, malnutrition, and low weight.

Treating this condition often requires maintaining a strict diet, taking supplements, IV nutrition, and sometimes a feeding tube.

Developmental delays

Some babies can experience other types of challenges related to NEC symptoms, including delayed and diminished cognitive and motor skill development. Developmental and growth delays are not uncommon in babies who require surgery from NEC.

Preventing NEC

According to the Cleveland Clinic, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/10026-necrotizing-enterocolitis, there are some things you can do to reduce the risk of your baby developing NEC. Consider speaking to your doctor about the following:

  • Whether you are a risk for preterm delivery
  • Are there medications you can take to boost the health of your unborn baby
  • Feeding the baby breast milk instead of formula if it is born prematurely
  • Probiotics

Are You Eligible to File a Lawsuit Because of NEC?

There is research that shows premature babies who are fed formula have a greater risk of developing NEC and the dangerous complications that follow. Ask yourself-

  • Was my baby premature?
  • Did the hospital feed my baby with cow-based formula?
  • Did my baby receive a diagnosis of NEC?
  • Did I receive any warning that my baby could get sick from the cow-based formula?

If the answer to these questions is “yes,” you might be able to file a lawsuit against the makers of Similac, Enfamil, or another baby formula.

Call Alonso Krangle, LLP To Find Out if You Are Entitled to Compensation from the Baby Formula Manufacturers

Call our lawyers today at 800-403-6191 to determine if you are entitled to file a baby formula lawsuit and collect compensation for your baby’s injuries. Alonso Krangle, LLP, fights for the rights of victims injured by dangerous products. If your baby has been injured, let us help you collect the maximum compensation allowed by law.

New Jersey Settles Nursing Home Neglect Claims for $53 Million

New Jersey Agrees to Pay $53 to Families of Veterans Who Died From Covid-19 in Nursing Homes

The families of 119 military veterans who died from COVID-19 at state-managed homes during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic will receive nearly $53 million from the state of New Jersey.

Many family members filed lawsuits against the state, accusing it of gross negligence. This out-of-court nursing home settlement resolves those claims for the families, who could receive between 4 and 5 hundred thousand dollars each.

Nursing Home Lawsuits Alleged Nursing Home Neglect

Reports indicate that during 2020, more than one-third of the residents at two New Jersey-run veteran’s homes died from Covid-19; almost 200 people.

Lawsuits were filed by 119 families of the victims. Their complaints included allegations that the nursing homes failed to meet the required standards of care. Stated more simply, the lawsuits blame the deaths on nursing home neglect.

Some allegations against the nursing homes and staff include:

  • not following proper infection control measures
  • allowing residents to gather knowing new infections were present
  • not wearing gloves
  • failing to wear masks
  • failing to provide adequate care, which might include supervision, mobilization, food, water, medication, emotional stimulation, attention to hygiene

Will States Follow New Jersey’s Lead and Settle Nursing Home Neglect Litigation?

The US has more than 15,000 nursing homes that are Medicare/Medicaid certified. More than 184,000 of the 1.3 million residents and staffers died from Covid-19 as of July 2021.

New Jersey is only state facing litigation over alleged since the Covid-19 outbreak. Some states have made it difficult to pursue claims against nursing homes, but there are multiple litigations pending and being prepared across America.
Covid-19 outbreaks in nursing homes have received widespread attention since the earliest days of the pandemic, with questions raised about the protocols, care, and safety of nursing home residents. Factors like understaffing, patient vulnerability, and unpreparedness may have contributed to high infection and mortality in some nursing homes.

As agencies like the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue to examine the link between nursing home neglect and Covid-19, it remains to be seen what will occur in other nursing home neglect litigation. The $53 million settlement in New Jersey appears to be the first of its kind directly related to Covid-19 deaths in nursing homes. Time will tell if other states attempt to similarly resolve nursing home neglect claims.

Call Alonso Krangle, LLP, If Your Loved One Died In a Nursing Home

Call our nursing home neglect lawyers at 800-403-6191 if someone you love died while living in a nursing home. If the nursing home was negligent, you might be able to collect compensation.

Call Alonso Krangle, LLP today to schedule a free review of your nursing home neglect case.

Keep Your Loved One Safe In A Nursing Home During The Holidays

Keeping Your Loved One In A Nursing Home Safe During The Holidays

The holiday season is a time for families and friends to gather together and celebrate! For many people, this holiday season marks the first time in years loved ones can gather in person. It is a time that should be filled with joy.

But, some families will not have everyone they want at their holiday table. Millions of Americans live in nursing homes, and some of them will be unable to attend celebrations with their loved ones. This can put a damper on the holidays for everyone.

Deciding that someone you love should live in a nursing home is not always an easy one to make. It often means that they can no longer care for themselves, which can be a difficult realization for everyone involved. Nursing home residents often depend on others to assist them with eating, bathing, dressing, and mobilizing. It is always the expectation that the staff and administrators are attentive to the needs of their residents and provide them with the care they require.

Hopefully, after much research, you found a safe place for your loved one. Many nursing homes provide compassionate care and supervision to the seniors who live there. They have staff members who treat their residents with respect and kindness, engaging them in appropriate physical and mental activities.

Sadly, some nursing homes do not meet the standards required by law, and their residents suffer the consequences. Neglect and abuse of nursing home residents are a nationwide problem. Covid-19 protocols have allegedly made it harder for some nursing homes to provide the most basic care to their patients. Restrictions on visitors have made it difficult for families to check in on their loved ones.

Even nursing homes with outstanding reputations have struggled to keep their residents safe and healthy during the last few years. For long stretches, no one could visit nursing homes, making it harder than usual for families and friends to gauge the wellness of their loved ones. Were they lonely? Did anyone talk to them during the day, engage them in activities, or make sure they were clean? Were they eating and drinking? Did they even get out of bed?

Now that the doors to nursing homes have reopened, families can see for themselves how their loved ones are faring. The holidays provide a perfect opportunity to assess the safety of your loved one in a nursing home. Go see them. Not only can you help make their holidays a little brighter, but you can also make sure they are receiving the care they deserve.

Nursing Home Residents Don’t Always Report Abuse And Neglect

It is often up to visitors to notice that nursing home residents are suffering from abuse or neglect. Why don’t the victims report it themselves or advocate for their safety?

There are several reasons for this:

  • Residents can’t always speak up for themselves because of physical limitations or fear
  • Staff members are often alone with patients, which means there might not be witnesses to the abuse
  • Nursing home patients worry no one will believe them
  • Nursing home residents often have many ailments making it difficult to know what is the result of abuse and neglect and what is “normal.”
  • People tend not to believe stories of abuse told by residents who have memory impairment or dementia
  • Being entirely dependent on nursing home staff to provide basic necessities makes it difficult to speak up. Will the abuse get worse? Will they stop feeding you or talking to you?

It might be up to you to notice signs that your loved one is suffering and report your findings to the administration, management, or even the police.

What To Look For When You Visit Your Loved One: Signs of Abuse or Neglect in Nursing Homes

If possible, ask your loved ones questions about the care they are receiving. Take their answers seriously and see if they correlate with what you see for yourself.

Common signs of abuse and neglect might include:

  • Bed sores/pressure ulcers
  • Dehydration
  • Malnutrition
  • Falls
  • Fractures, or broken bones
  • Infections
  • Lack of cleanliness
  • Soiled clothing or linens
  • Extreme agitation
  • Bruises, cuts, or welts in various stages of healing or infection
  • Extreme withdrawal or isolation
  • Unwillingness to speak or obvious fear around certain staff members
  • Wandering or elopement
  • Unusual or extreme sedation (chemical restraint)
  • Changes in medication
  • Sudden weight loss or weight gain
  • Sexual behavior or sexually explicit language
  • Unusual changes in behavior such as fear, rocking, biting

If you see any of these signs, it is important to make sure your loved one is not being mistreated. Find out how those bruises got there. Why do they have bedsores? Are they being repositioned to avoid them? Ask why their meds were changed and by whom. Find out why they don’t want to be touched.

Get help if you suspect your loved one is being neglected or abused in a nursing home.

When Your Loved One In A Nursing Home, Reach Out During The Holidays

Nursing home safety includes emotional and physical well-being. The holidays can be a lonely time for nursing home residents. In-person visits are big boosters, but there are other things you can do to help reduce the loneliness of someone you love who lives in a nursing home.

Consider the following suggestions:

  • Add simple, safe, festive, or meaningful holiday decorations to their room
  • Encourage them to share stories of past holiday traditions
  • Deliver familiar holiday treats to them – perhaps enough to share with friends
  • Seek spiritual support for them if appropriate
  • Help them to write holiday cards
  • Encourage extended family members and friends to send holiday cards
  • Organize small virtual holiday gatherings that can help them feel engaged and connected to people they love

These little things can make a tremendous difference to your loved one. Can you think of a better way to honor the spirit of the holidays?

Call Alonso Krangle, LLP, If You Are Worried About Neglect and Abuse In Your Loved One’s Nursing Home

At Alonso Krangle, LLP, our nursing home lawyers can help if you suspect your loved one is suffering from abuse or neglect.

Call us today at 800-403-6191 to schedule a free consultation.

NY Legislators Seek Establishment of Nursing Home Compensation Fund

New York Legislators Seek to Establish $4 Billion Nursing Home Victims Compensation Fund

Queens Assemblyman Ron Kim is the sponsor of a bill that will establish a large nursing home victims compensation fund. The legislation, if passed, will open the door to financial relief for families of the approximately 15,000 individuals who died in NY nursing homes during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The legislation is called “The Justice For Nursing Home Victims Act” and will, according to the New York Post, “allow families to submit applications to a nursing home victims compensation board and receive payments from the state.” The relief aims to compensate families of “those who died after contracting Covid-19 in nursing homes.”

The bill is similar to the legislation that created the Sept 11 Victims Compensation Fund. The “9/11 Fund” provides financial assistance to victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, including those that are suffering from long-term health problems caused by the collapse of the World Trade Center and the toxic air that lingered in lower Manhattan.

How Much Can You Receive From the Nursing Home Victims Compensation Fund?

Eligible families would have to submit applications to the board in charge of overseeing the fund and awarding distributions. Victims would then receive the payments from the state. The exact criteria for eligibility are not yet clear.

Kim stated that families would be eligible for at least $250,000 for every loved one who died of Covid-19 in a nursing home. Spouses and dependents, Kim added, will each be able to collect a minimum payout of $100,000. Legislators would like the fund to contain 4 billion dollars, although what part of the NY State Budget that money will come from is unclear at this time.

Why Do Legislators Want A New York Nursing Home Victims Compensation Fund?

Covid-19-related nursing home deaths have been a source of controversy in New York since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

Many people, including NY Attorney General Letitia James, believe that the number of nursing home residents who died from Covid-19 has been seriously unreported and manipulated. Some of former Governor Cuomo’s aides admitted to withholding data from the federal government.

Many of these deaths, according to angry family members and legislators, resulted from bad policies and practices implemented by then-Governor Cuomo.

For example, the governor issued an order that prevented nursing homes from refusing to admit or readmit Covid-19 patients and prohibited nursing homes from testing them. Although he repealed the order after a few months, experts say this policy alone resulted in up to 1000 preventable deaths.

Additionally, a provision “snuck” into the state budget granted nursing homes and their employees immunity from negligence suits related to Covid-19. This controversial “Emergency or Disaster Treatment Protection Act” was subsequently repealed as well.

New York Legislation Seeks to Prevent Future Nursing Home Negligence

In addition to establishing the victim compensation fund, the bill would extend the statute of limitations to file personal injury claims against nursing homes for covid-19 related deaths.
NY Legislators supporting the bill clearly believe that the families of nursing home residents who were put in danger and died by these “bad” policies deserve the opportunity to seek compensation from the fund or by being allowed ample time to file civil claims.

Assemblyman Kim stated that at the height of the pandemic, the government’s motivation was protecting nursing home industry profits over lives. Kim suggests that nursing homes and long-term care facilities had financial incentives to commit “eldercide” during the pandemic. Through this bill, Kim hopes to put an end to such bad practices and make it prohibitively expensive for New York nursing homes to harm their residents.

Call Alonso Krangle, LLP, If Your Loved One Suffered Harm in a New York Nursing Home

If you have a loved one or family member who died from Covid-19 while they were residents of a nursing home, you might be eligible to collect compensation. Reports suggest that the death toll of coronavirus patients who lived in long-term care facilities is greater than we think. Negligence might be to blame. Ask yourself:

  • Did someone I love who lived in a nursing home die of Covid-19 in the home or a hospital?
  • Did they receive adequate care?
  • Were they placed in danger because of the policies and practices of the nursing home?
  • Were they neglected?

Consider your answers and then call our today at 800-403-6191 to find out if you are entitled to receive compensation for the Covid-19 related death of your loved one, who was a nursing home resident. Call now to schedule a free review of your nursing home negligence claim and find out if you are eligible to seek compensation.

 

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Repeal of the Emergency or Disaster Treatment Protections Act

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo enacted a controversial law granting nursing homes and other essential businesses immunity from lawsuits. The law, known as “Emergency or Disaster Treatment Protection Act” shielded these organizations from negligence claims related to COVID-19.

The act was originally tucked into the state budget last year, granting massive immunity to companies running nursing home operations.

Tremendous controversy has haunted Governor Cuomo and his administration, as they are being federally investigated for allegedly covering up 9,000 COVID-related deaths.
Governor Cuomo signed the law on April 6, 2021.

Bronx State Senator Alessandra Biaggi, one of the sponsors of the bill repealing the immunity, is quoted as saying “[t]his blanket immunity prevented thousands of families who lost loved ones to COVID-19 from seeking legal recourse, and potentially incentivized nursing home executives to cut corners — endangering staff and residents.” The New York Democratic Senator had previously indicated to the New York Post “the corporate immunity provision was a license to kill.”

As noted by Assemblyman Ron Kim, “we’re going back to normal standard liability where patients and nursing home residents and families have their rights restored.”

The bill was originally written, in part, by the state’s hospital lobby group and was supported by nursing home associations.

 

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NY AARP Urges Governor to Implement Nursing Home Reforms

New York AARP Asks Governor Cuomo to Implement Nursing Home Reforms

Since Covid-19 began to spread about a year ago, the number of nursing home deaths has skyrocketed – nursing home residents comprise more than one-third of Covid-19 related deaths. So too, have stories of severe neglect of nursing home residents, which has led to countless others’ injuries and death.

Abuse and neglect in nursing homes have always existed. The pandemic has provided a much-needed and long-overdue spotlight on the frequency and severity of the problem. Advocacy groups and families of nursing home residents are seizing this opportunity to seek reforms.

AARP New York State Director Finkel stated, “We should not waste this golden opportunity to improve safety and conditions for our mothers, fathers, grandparents, spouses and other loved ones in New York’s nursing homes – and for the staff who care for them.”

What Does the AARP Letter to The Governor Say?

On February 17, 2021, AARP formally asked Governor Cuomo to implement badly needed nursing home reforms. In a letter to the Governor, AARP requested that he include its Five Point Reform Plan in the 2021-2022 state budget proposal.

The plan is the result of a collaboration between AARP, healthcare workers union 1199SEIU, and The Long-Term Care Community Coalition.

The letter urges the Governor to include the reforms in his 30-day Executive Budget Amendments.

The plan would require nursing homes to provide a minimum amount of direct care hours, more staffing, transparency, and other necessities that have been severely lacking, especially during the pandemic. It would also restore families’ rights to seek legal recourse, which were suspended earlier to shield nursing homes from liability for Covid-19 related deaths, neglect, and abuse.

What Does The Five Point Reform Plan Specifically Address?

The Five-Point Reform Plan’s suggested reforms include several crucial areas in need of change, some of which are the direct result of conditions created by the pandemic. It is no secret that nursing home residents have suffered terribly from loneliness and isolation during this time. Short staffing, inability to have visitors and diverted attention can contribute to the rapid emotional and physical decline of nursing home patients. Part of the plan seeks to address these issues. Let’s take a closer look.

Visitation:

This is one of AARP’s biggest concerns, and it asks for the implementation of safe in-person visitation and safe virtual visitation.

This would include “compassionate care visits.” AARP recognizes that social interaction and emotional support from family, friends, and other residents are critical to residents’ emotional and physical health. Visits from the nursing home staff are part of this.

Quality Care:

This includes requiring nursing homes to spend money on things directly related to providing quality care to residents, including increasing staff levels, more direct care, ensuring strict compliance with infectious disease protocols, providing adequate PPE, regular and ongoing testing, and better oversight of and access to the Long-Term Care Ombudsman program.

Transparency:

The plan would require daily reporting of data on fatalities and infectious disease rates of staff and residents in all nursing homes and adult care facilities. It would also require an annual report to the Legislature that is also available to the public.

Home and Community-Based Services:

The plan requests that the Governor increase state funding by $27 million to help provide services and support that would allow elderly New Yorkers to remain in their homes, which is what many would prefer.

There is a waitlist of over 10,000 people seeking these services that “support family caregivers in helping older loved ones avoid costlier, mostly taxpayer-funded nursing homes.”

Retroactive Repeal of Legal Immunity for Nursing Homes

Nursing homes have been granted legal immunity for negligent care provided during the pandemic. The plan urges the Governor to repeal this immunity, allowing the families of nursing home residents who were injured or died because of negligence to seek legal recourse.

Pursuing legal action against a nursing home is not easy, but it should be an option when negligence resulted in harm to your loved one. AARP wants this repeal to be retroactive.

What is the Goal of AARP’s Five Point Reform Plan?

AARP wants to improve conditions for everyone in nursing homes – residents and staff alike. The pandemic has caused unprecedented sadness and confusion and has created nursing home conditions, unlike anything we have seen before.

Finkel stated, “What has happened to our loved ones in nursing homes during the past 11 months is a tragedy. AARP New York stands ready to work with the Governor and Legislature to ensure it stops now and never happens again.”

Call our Nursing Home Lawyers if Your Loved One is the Victim of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect

At Alonso Krangle, LLP, our lawyers represent nursing home abuse and neglect victims and their families.

Has someone you love suffered severe or fatal injuries while under the care of a nursing home? If so, call Alonso Krangle, LLP today at 800-403-6191 and find out if you are entitled to file a claim.

 

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Suing A Nursing Home For Neglect and Abuse

Can You File a Lawsuit in NY or Other States For Abuse or Neglect in a Nursing Home?

In December 2020, the family of Jakob Khorsandi and two other families filed lawsuits against Silverado Senior Living in California for allegedly abusing or neglecting its residents, resulting in the deaths of three elder patients and a nurse.

Silverado is accused of admitting a resident into their facility without performing the necessary protocols required for identifying Covid-19 symptoms. The staff allowed this person to mingle with other residents in a dining area without proper medical or social distancing precautions.

The following day, the nursing home observed that this resident had Covid-19 symptoms. The virus quickly spread to other residents. Some of them survived, while others did not.

In times of crises such as this, it is important for people living in nursing homes to understand their rights to proper care. Nursing homes have obligations to their residents. When they fail to fulfill those obligations, and someone gets injured or worse, they might be legally responsible for paying damages.

What is Nursing Home Neglect?

Nursing home neglect often involves a caregiver or a nursing home’s failure to fulfill its obligations to someone in their care and custody. This often involves failing to provide basic necessities and essentials, such as food, hygiene, water, medical care, and even overall comfort.

Note, though, that neglect can be different from abuse, although both can result in serious injuries and even death.

What Are Some Differences Between Neglect, Abuse, and Negligence?

According to the Administration on Aging, which is a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, nursing home abuse or elder abuse is the “knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver that causes harm or serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult.”

Nursing home abuse can include physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. Other forms of abuse can also exist, like financial abuse, so long as the acts caused or cause harm or put the victim in a position of serious risk.

Neglect implies passivity as opposed to abuse which often involves purposefully harmful actions. Neglect, however, can do just as much harm as abuse whether the neglect is purposeful or not. It is the failure to provide basic physical and emotional necessities. Neglect is often considered to be a form of abuse.

Negligence involves a person’s failure to act with the right amount of discretion under normal circumstances. It may be intentional or accidental or both. A certain degree of prudence is required and recognized by the law where a person should act in a certain way during specific situations. Failure to exercise that degree of prudence is to be “negligent.”

Every case of abuse and neglect must be reviewed on an individual basis to determine if a standard of care has been breached. Abuse and neglect can both be considered negligent under the law depending on the specific facts. This is one reason why you should consult with our experienced nursing home neglect and/or abuse lawyers. It is imperative that you understand your rights, hold the nursing home accountable, and keep your loved one safe.

Can I Sue for Nursing Home Neglect or Abuse?

Perhaps. But, there must be a legal standard that has been breached. The nursing home must have acted negligently, recklessly or even with an intent to cause harm.

For example, if your loved one has bedsores, you might think the staff is neglecting them. But if the nursing home has followed all protocols to avoid bedsores, you might not be able to prove there was negligence.

However, if the caregiver failed to turn the patient according to the rules, ignored cries for help, or was left unsupervised, you might be able to hold the nursing home liable for damages caused by their negligence.

Under these circumstances, even if you suspect neglect or abuse in a nursing home, consult our experienced lawyers so that you can get the best results from your case.

Contact Our Nursing Home Negligence Lawyers Today!

If you a victim of neglect or abuse by a nursing home or know someone who is, do not hesitate to call our office to find out if you are eligible to file a claim and collect damages. To learn more about your rights and get help from experienced nursing home neglect and abuse lawyers, call Alonso Krangle, LLP, at 800-403-6191.

 

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NY OAG Released Results of COVID-19 Nursing Home Investigation

Attorney General Releases Results of Investigation Into Covid-19 Deaths in New York Nursing Homes

In a 76-page report published January 28, NY Attorney General Leticia James’s office (OAG) revealed that the New York Department of Health (DOH) may have underreported Covid-19 deaths in nursing homes by as much as 50%. They came to this conclusion after a months-long investigation into two main issues:

  • Did nursing homes use proper safety protocols regarding Covid-19?
  • Why were/are there discrepancies between the number of deaths reported by nursing homes and the number reported by the health department?

It is not new news that Covid-19 has decimated nursing homes. Until recently, reports have consistently suggested that approximately 1/3 of all Covid-19 deaths have occurred in nursing homes. Now it appears this number in New York is far higher. The report also suggests that some of these deaths were partly due to nursing homes’ failure to abide by proper covid-19 safety protocols.

OAG Investigation Concludes that Nursing Home Deaths Were Underreported in New York

The investigation revealed that “many nursing home residents died from Covid-19 in hospitals after being transferred from their nursing homes, which is not reflected in D.O.H.’s published total nursing home death data.”

According to James, the official death toll from Covid-19 in nursing homes rose 50% when you add-in the patients from nursing homes who died in the hospital.

One specific but unnamed nursing home reported “five confirmed and six presumed COVID-19 deaths at the facility as of August 3 to DOH. However, the facility reported to OAG a total of 27 COVID-19 deaths at the facility and 13 hospital deaths — a discrepancy of 29 deaths.” Unfortunately, this is only one of dozens of discrepancies leading to the conclusion that deaths were underreported by approximately 50%.”

Investigation Finds Nursing Homes Did Not Follow Proper Safety Protocols

Many people filed complaints with the OAG about questionable activities allegedly occurring in nursing homes during the pandemic. Some of those complaints were cited in the report and included:

  • Failing to properly isolate residents who tested positive for COVID-19;
  • Failing to adequately screen or test employees for COVID-19;
  • Demanding that sick employees continue to work and care for residents or face retaliation or termination;
  • Failing to train employees in infection control protocols; and
  • Failing to obtain, fit, and train caregivers with PPE.

Allegations such as the ones above were a large part of the investigation. The OAG concluded that “a number” of nursing homes failed to follow proper safety protocols or “critical infection and control policies.” The investigation report also suggests that New York State government policy may have exacerbated the already dangerous situation facing nursing homes and their residents.

These are some specific findings in the report:

  • Lack of compliance with infection control protocols increased the residents’ risk of harm
  • Lack of nursing home compliance with the executive order requiring communication with family members caused avoidable pain and distress
  • Nursing homes that entered the pandemic with low U.S. Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) Staffing ratings had higher COVID-19 fatality rates
  • Insufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) for nursing home staff put residents at increased risk of harm
  • Insufficient COVID-19 testing for residents and staff in the early stages of the pandemic put residents at increased risk of harm
  • Government guidance requiring the admission of COVID-19 patients into nursing homes may have put residents at increased risk of harm in some facilities. It may have also obscured the data available to assess that risk.

OAG Report Recommends Reforms to Keep Nursing Home Residents Safe

The report did not just criticize the response to Covid-19 and the negative impact it has had on the lives and deaths of many New Yorkers and their families. The OAG’s office outlines several systemic reforms that can help ensure “nursing homes take care of our seniors and our most vulnerable residents with dignity, respect and the sufficient care that the law requires.”
Some of the recommendations are:

  • Ensure public reporting of Covid-19 deaths that occur at nursing home facilities and those that occur after hospitalization in a manner that ensures accurate statistics
  • Vigorously enforce laws requiring nursing homes to provide adequate care and treatments of residents during times of emergency.
  • Require nursing homes to obtain and provide adequate staffing levels to care for residents and ensure they stop pressuring employees to work while they have Covid-19 or symptoms of Covid-19.
  • Adjust the direct care and supervision staffing levels
  • Require additional transparency (and enforce it) in the operation of for-profit nursing homes to ensure that the owners are not taking profits at the expense of staffing and resources residents’ need for proper care.
  • Support PPE manufacturing and ensure nursing homes have adequate inventory to follow protocols
  • Ensure Covid-19 testing is available and used per guidelines.
  • Eliminate the immunity provision that protects for-profit nursing homes from liability related to insufficient care during the pandemic and other health emergencies.
  • Formally enact and enforce the regulatory requirements that require prompt communication with residents’ family members regarding suspected or confirmed Covid-19 infection or death.

These are just some of the recommended reforms included in the report. Time will tell what real results will come from the investigation and if any real changes will occur in our nursing homes or the laws that govern them. Of special interest is whether the immunity provision will be amended, possibly paving the way for residents and their families to seek compensation from nursing homes that violated protocols.

Contact Our Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyers at Alonso Krangle, LLP

If someone you love has been injured or died while living in a nursing home, call our lawyers to protect your legal rights.

If negligence occurred, you might be entitled to file a claim and seek compensation. Call our nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers at 800-403-6191 for a free evaluation of your claim.

 

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Nursing Home Neglect Goes Beyond Covid-19

Professor Reminds Us That “Nursing Home Horrors” Go Beyond Covid-19

In a December 1, 2020 opinion article in the New York Post (“the Post”), Professor Charles Camosy provided a grim reminder that nursing home residents are suffering during this pandemic in ways that exceed the scope of the virus itself.

Nursing home residents make up approximately 1 percent of our nation’s population. Yet, they make up a startling 40% of deaths caused by Coronavirus. Some reports allege that in New York alone, the “failure to protect nursing home residents” from Covid-19 resulted in at least 6,000 deaths.

According to the Associated Press (AP), at least 40,000 nursing home deaths have been the result of “straight-up neglect.” Has the Covid-19 pandemic made conditions worse for all nursing home patients – even those without the virus? Has nursing home neglect caused tens of thousands of deaths? Perhaps.

Horror Stories Highlight Nursing Home Neglect Across the Country

One report involves Donald Wallace. The 75-year-old who lived in an Alabama residential nursing facility survived Covid-19.

The AP reported that Wallace’s son, Kevin, claims neglect ultimately killed his father. Kevin maintains that the facility stopped taking care of his father and that he became so dehydrated and malnourished that his weight dropped to 98 lbs. Wallace allegedly suffered septic shock and choked on his own food while dining unsupervised.

While the facility denies any negligence, Kevin feels strongly that it was pure neglect that resulted in his father’s death.

Camosy cites other horror stories to support the notion that neglect is widespread in nursing homes, especially now. There are reports of unchanged diapers, causing skin peeling and infections. There are also reports that patients aren’t being moved enough and that they are suffering from such bad bedsores that their bones are visible through the sores.
People are also suffering from the “profound isolation” that has resulted from the pandemic, their death certificates simply stating the cause of death as “failure to thrive.”

According to Camosy, many of these “practices were hiding in plain sight before, but the pandemic has forced Americans to examine how we treat our parents in the twilight of their lives.”

How Does Nursing Home Neglect Occur?

What type of negligence might be causing the suffering and death of non-Covid-19 nursing home residents during the pandemic?

  • Nursing homes tend to be chronically short-staffed, which makes conditions ripe for neglect.
  • Nursing home employees might be responsible for the well-being too many patients to treat them all with the level of care that is required by law
  • Nursing home administrators may not be providing adequate training and supervision to employees to ensure they are performing their duties adequately
  • Nursing homes might not be providing adequate supervision of residents, ensuring their safety
  • Isolation policies make it hard for family members and friends to notice early signs of neglect and seek remedial action or medical attention
  • Isolation policies also make it harder for nursing home residents to speak up about neglect
  • Isolation and staffing shortages have made it difficult for nursing home residents to obtain the emotional, physical, and social stimulation they require and expect, leading to a very fast health deterioration for many elders.

Camosy hopes that the pandemic forces America to look at the way we treat our elder population, especially those in a nursing home. He calls on the government to assess the situation and make changes to “protect and honor our elders.”

He emphasizes the need to address understaffing and stop paying nursing home employees “less than a living wage.” Camosy insists that these factors, which go hand in hand, are crucial to resolving the rampant nursing home neglect occurring across our nation.

If Your Loved One is the Victim of Nursing Home Neglect, Call Alonso Krangle, LLP for Help.

If you have a loved one in a nursing home who is suffering from neglect or you suspect their death was caused by neglect, call our lawyers at Alonso Krangle, LLP. We have experience handling nursing home abuse and neglect claims and can determine if you are entitled to collect compensation. We believe in holding nursing homes accountable when their negligence causes injuries to innocent victims. We fight for the rights of nursing home residents and their families when neglect has severe consequences.

Call our New York nursing home neglect lawyers today at 516-350-5555 for a free case evaluation.

 

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