Nursing Home Negligence, a Serious Problem in the United States that Needs to be Stopped

Mar 22, 2017 by

Contrary to the provision of quality care that is required under the law and which nursing home residents are made to expect, so many of them are rather made to experience abuses and neglect or lack of care. These acts of abuse and neglect result to malnutrition or dehydration, failure to accommodate medical needs, lack of proper hygiene or sanitation, bedsores, and even wrongful death. In fact, thousands of abuses and neglect get reported every year; yet, despite this high number, many authorities and experts believe that so many more remain unreported, especially the more sensitive and humiliating cases, like sexual abuses.

About 15,600 nursing home facilities located all across U.S. provide shelter to more than 1.3 million residents (statistics for 2014). Nursing facility residents include elders (65 years old or older), individuals who are chronically ill or disabled and in need of rehabilitative therapy, and those who are physically or mentally incapacitated. All of these facilities promise the same thing: monitoring of medication, 24-hour emergency care, social and recreational activities and personal care, which includes dressing, bathing, and toilet assistance: in a nutshell, high quality of life in a well-maintained setting.

To protect residents, as well as to make sure that their needs are always attended to, the U.S. Congress passed the Nursing Home Reform Act into law in 1987. This Act mandates that nursing homes participating in Medicare and Medicaid or which receive Medicare and Medicaid funds, should “provide services and activities to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of each resident in accordance with a written plan of care.” (http://www.nursinghomealert.com/federal-nursing-home-regulations-and-state-laws)

As defined under federal nursing home regulations, neglect, is failure to provide the necessary care and service which will ensure freedom from pain or harm, or failure to assist a resident during potentially dangerous situations which can possibly result to harm or anxiety; it can be intentional or non-intentional. Abuse, on the other hand, can be any form of act that: causes injury; deprives care or service; causes intimidation; results in unreasonable confinement or punishment that causes physical harm and/or mental anguish.

According to the Sampson Law Firm, “Nursing home negligence is a serious problem in the United States. The sad reality is that far too many elderly individuals, whose families have placed an enormous degree of trust in the capability of the staff and ownership of the nursing home, are exposed to serious risks to their health and well-being every year as a result of neglect.”

Negligence, however, can “be an extremely difficult problem to recognize. Many elderly individuals have difficulty communicating with their loved ones, and this can make it hard to understand that there is a problem. However, a few common warning signs may indicate that an elderly individual has been the victim of nursing home negligence. These signs may include:

  • Sudden changes in emotional state
  • Withdrawal from friends and relatives
  • Unexplained physical injuries
  • Abrupt weight loss
  • Bed sores

By knowing some of the signs of nursing home neglect and abuse, a family might be able to put a quick end to this mistreatment, not to mention know when they need to file a personal injury claim on the behalf of their loved one

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Medical Malpractice: Emergency Room Errors

Jan 6, 2017 by

Health and medicine is a serious occupational path. They are very complicated, and even a single mistake in practice can cause injury or death. Because of the complexity of health and medicine, errors are not that uncommon, especially in emergency rooms where everything is urgent.

According to the Toronto personal injury lawyers of Mazin & Associates, PC, emergency room errors can be seen as a medical malpractice, and the medical professionals involved may be held liable.

Most common emergency room errors

Emergency rooms can be stressful places, but it doesn’t mean that medical professionals have room for errors. Below are the most common emergency room errors that result into injury or death.

  • Patient dumping – releasing a patient because of his inability to pay or other financial reasons
  • Misdiagnosis – failing to properly diagnose complications, particularly those that are life-threatening
  • Medication mistakes – Issuing the wrong medication, dosage, or not giving medication at all
  • Improper discharge – releasing a patient too early or without the necessary supplementary instructions
  • Improper management – having issues with the overall medical operations, like lack of staffing and delays in treatment
  • Improper procedure – incorrectly performing procedures that may cause harm to the patient

Causes of emergency room errors

Most emergency room errors are a result of recklessness and negligence. These things have no place in emergency rooms, especially because lives ar at risk. Also, they are easily prevented through competence, diligence, and loyalty to safety procedures.

Emergency room errors occur because of the following:

  • Inexperience of staff
  • Lack of medical equipment and facilities
  • Fatigued or stressed staff
  • Not following standard protocol

Effects of emergency room errors to patients

A visit to the emergency room is bad enough, but everything becomes worse if you become a victim of an emergency room error. The most common effects of such errors to patients include:

  • Additional medical bills because of corrective treatment
  • Loss of time at work or school
  • Unnecessary inability to enjoy life
  • Unnecessary pain and suffering

Experiencing these things because of another person’s fault is unjustifiable, especially if that person is the one who is supposed to take care of you in emergency situations. But by reading more about emergency room errors, you are one step farther from being a victim.

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Oct 28, 2016 by

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Texas Divorce Laws the Need to be Complied With

Oct 26, 2016 by

In the past, majority of U.S. states granted divorce but only for specific reasons and on specific ground/s. In Texas, particularly, the Texas Family Code clearly specifies that the acceptable and valid reasons for divorce are adultery, bigamy, abuse, impotence, insanity, desertion, drug addiction or alcoholism, conviction in a felony case, and fraud.

As divorce became more common and acceptable, however, states, including Texas, began allowing the filing of divorce on “no fault” grounds, meaning, the spouse filing a petition for divorce need not cite any ground other than irreconcilable differences or insupportability which, according to Kirker Davis LLP, means discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation.

Like in any other state, however, there are more basic laws that will determine the legitimacy of a petition for divorce, such as the issue of jurisdiction or residency requirements. If a court finds out that it has no jurisdictional rights to decide on a petition for divorce, then it will not recognize such petition, resulting to dismissal of what has been filed even before it starts.

In Texas, residency requirements require that:

– The petitioner or the respondent has been a resident in the state of Texas for at least six-months prior to the filing of the petition;
– The petitioner or the respondent has been a resident of the county (where the petition is filed) for at least 90 days prior to the filing of the petition; and,
– If the spouse, who will file the petition for divorce has moved to another U.S. state or another country, then he/she will have to file the petition in the Texan county where his/her spouse has resided for at least six months.

Many individuals in Texas opt to file a “fault” divorce due to the possibility of them receiving a bigger share in the division of property and assets. Some others, however, rather file under “no fault” grounds, reasoning out that a “fault” divorce may take a long time settle (from six months to more than a year). They will have to face too costly court and other legal fees if this will be the case.

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Causes of Birth Injuries

Jul 27, 2016 by

One of the happiest and most awaited events in the life of a parent is the coming of their baby. After several months of preparation, the time has come for the infant to see the light. The parents together with the pediatrician will do everything to ensure that the baby goes out healthy and normal. But somewhere along the way things can go wrong causing the baby to get injured.

According to the website of Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC, birth injuries is associated with substantial costs especially if it requires treatment. They can have devastating effects on the life not only of the baby but also of the parents. There are various factors that can cause birth injuries and we shall discuss them in detail.

Delayed Birth

A labor that lasted 18 hours is already considered long. At this point in time, the compression in the brain becomes too much for the baby to handle. By this time, the baby will already show signs of fetal distress and their brain will start reacting in emergency mode resulting to elevated blood pressure.

Lack of Oxygen

All brain-related birth injuries are associated with oxygen deprivation. They can either be mild or severe and the injury could last for a few days up to a lifetime. Oxygen deprivation may be due to both external (kinked or prolapsed umbilical cord) and internal forces like low birth weight or underdeveloped lungs.

Medical Malpractice

Sometimes birth injuries arise from the negligence or inexperience of the medical personnel who delivered the baby. When the person handling the delivery has limited knowledge about prenatal, natal, and postnatal care, this is where things can go wrong and the baby could end up getting injured.

From the onset until the delivery, it is important for proper care to be given to the baby. More importantly, the one who should be tasked with the delivery is one who should be properly trained and experienced. This way, the possibility of the baby getting injured can be prevented.

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Surgical Errors

Mar 17, 2016 by

Seventy-one-year-old retired secretary LaVerne Stiles underwent a spinal fusion operation at Citrus Memorial Hospital in central Florida in February 2012, as she had been involved in a minor car accident a few weeks earlier and had sustained broken bones in her neck.

Spinal fusion is done tens of thousands of times annually at the hospital, and they are usually performed without a hitch. Stiles can take her pick from three of the hospital’s well-trained surgeons, who mastered their craft at the hospital rated to be one of the top 100 in the nation when it comes to spinal fusion operations.

However, the doctor that performed the procedure on her, Constantine Toumbis, had one of the highest rates of mishaps when it comes to spinal procedures in the United States. The other two doctors at the hospital’s disposal possessed among the lowest rates for postoperative problems like infection and internal bleeding.

According to statistics analyzed by New York City-based independent non-profit newsroom ProPublica based on Medicare data, the differences that Stiles encountered at Citrus Memorial are indicative of the activities in many hospitals across America – they do not track the complication rates of many surgeons and utilize such information so as to enforce improvements. The government also has no say in this.

Using five years of Medicare records for eight common elective procedures including knee and hip replacements, prostate removals, and spinal fusions, ProPublica found out that hundreds of surgeons across the nation had rates of complications approaching double and triple the national average, surgeons with the highest complication rates are still being allowed to perform surgeries nationwide, and that subpar surgeons are working at academic medical centers which are considered the best in the country.

Attorneys at Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller, & Overbeck, P.A. say that patient safety has been at the core of American health care since 1999 when the Institute of Medicine published “To Err is Human”, a report that revealed the frequency with which surgical operations result in errors.

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Medical Negligence Causing Birth Injuries Far More Frequently than Anyone May Realize

Oct 19, 2015 by

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, as many as 28,000 babies are born with a birth injury every year. Good thing most of these injuries are only minor and easily heal without any need for treatment. But what about the serious ones, to think that this nation probably has the most advanced healthcare system in the world and some of the world’s most modern medical equipment?

A birth injury, or birth trauma, is a general term that is used to refer to any type of injury or harm (such as fractures, cuts or other injuries) sustained during the birthing process. It usually occurs during a difficult delivery, which may be due to: the abnormal position of a fetus in the uterus at birth (like a breech position, wherein the baby exits the pelvis with his/her buttocks or feet first); the birth canal being too small; or, the fetus being too large (when delivering larger babies, doctors usually use a vacuum or forceps to make babies’ passage through the birth canal easier. This, however, can result to neonatal injuries, especially if the doctor is not careful with birthing instruments or uses too much force). Difficult delivery or not, however, many legal and medical professionals will confirm the sad fact that medical negligence is the top reason why many babies suffer injuries during birth and that these acts occur far more frequently than any one may realize.

While a professional or licensed midwife may be present and assist during delivery, medical negligence is usually identified as failure on the part of a doctor, nurse, anesthesiologist, and whoever may be part of the medical team inside the delivery room. On the part of the doctor, the most commonly reported acts of medical negligence that he or she may be held accountable for include his or her: excessive dependence on modern medical devices; failure to dedicate the time required in preparing for a proper delivery; dangerous performance of a rush delivery; and, failure to perform a caesarean section during emergency.

Based on a recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some of the most common serious types of birth injuries due to medical negligence, include:

  • Brachial Plexus Injury (BPI). This includes Erb’s palsy and Klumpke’s palsy (a form of BPI which can affect the upper limbs, armpit and back of the neck and which can cause paralysis in the forearm and hand). Brachial Plexus Injury can result to temporary or permanent disability.
  • Bells’ palsy or Paralysis of Facial Nerves. This is due to the use of forceps or a vacuum during delivery. If too much pressure is applied on an infant’s face, such pressure can damage nerves which, in turn can result to total paralysis on the side of the face that is affected.
  • Brain Injury. This is one of the effects of oxygen deprivation and it can lead to a host of medical disorders, like cerebral palsy and chronic seizures.
  • Cephalohematoma. This usually results from the use of birth-assisting tools. Cephalohematoma happens due to the pooling of blood or bleeding underneath the skull.
  • Cerebral Palsy. This is damage to the brain which causes impaired muscle coordination. There is no known cure for this type of birth injury, which may be sustained before or during birth.

The website of the Oceanside personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Yvonne M. Fraser says that newborns naturally sustain minor injuries during the childbirth process and that bruising, tearing, stretching of tissues and even broken bones are, in fact, very common and often unavoidable results of bringing a child into the world.

The case is different though with regard to serious birth injuries since most of these are consequences of acts of negligence either during prenatal care or inside the delivery room. Any serious injury suffered by a newborn, therefore, deserves to be investigated as this may lead to the discovery of irresponsible behavior, a mistake that can forever change the life of a child and his/her family. The details that concern seeking expert medical opinion about the possible causes of an injury suffered by a child, how to gather evidences, the proper and timely filing of a civil case and defending the rights and interests of an injured child, all these lie within the forte of a personal injury lawyer: a seasoned or highly-skilled one, especially. Seeking one’s help may be in the best interest of the injured child’s family.

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Do Morcellators Cause Endometrial Cancer?

Jun 12, 2015 by

There are studies that have gone on to prove that morcellators are directly linked with having increasing the risk of endometrial cancer in women. Morcellators, in the beginning, were highly sought after for laparoscopic procedures which are surgical procedures that require minimum incisions, which means a faster recovery time from surgery as well as reduced scarring.

Statistics have gone on to state that there have been 50,000 morcellator-involved surgeries per year since its induction into the medical field. It was only until recent that evidence has showed that 1 out of 370 women who have undergone treatment with a morcellator have developed endometrial cancer. This is a cancer that starts in the inner lining of the womb (endometrium) and can be aggressively malignant once the tumors start to develop glands.

As a result of the studies, Johnson & Johnson were forced to recall three kinds of morcellators in 2014. Included in those recalled by the manufacturers are Morcellex Sigma, Gynecare X-Tract, and Gynecare Morcellex. These morcellators were designed to suck out noncancerous growths during laparoscopic surgery procedures and, in theory, they worked. The device would latch on to the growth in question and suck it out through the tube. Even if the pieces of it were to scatter, there was an apparatus involving a small protruding claw that could get even the smallest of scattered pieces. An experienced morcellator lawyer will be aware that this kind of procedure is more often seen when a woman gets a hysterectomy, which is the removal of the womb from her body. However, complications have arisen in recent studies that link use of morcellators with then causing endometrial cancer.

In addition to the recalls, the FDA has discouraged the use of morcellators. If you or someone you know has developed endometrial cancer after having a laparoscopic surgical procedure done with a morcellator, it is recommended that  who has the knowhow and experience necessary in dealing with such a case is contacted in order to get the best possible help and representation for your case.

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Why Is the Texas Prompt Pay Act Important?

Mar 18, 2015 by

Some services are more difficult to fulfill than others. After all, a specialized hand is a hand that has seen experience and has earned knowledge. Some of the most knowledgeable and experienced professionals in any professional industry today are medical workers. After all, in order to be considered a practitioner in this field, one must be learned and trained and licensed – and all that takes a certain discipline and several years of schooling, blood, sweat, and tears.

There is also a lot of risk when it comes to medical professionals as they are not just dealing with contraptions. Humans are far more difficult to fix than machines and medical professionals have to risk so much on these fragile circumstances. There is risk present, yes, but they are invaluable to any community. It is because of men and women in this field in modern society are able to live and function from the inside out.

And that is why it is of the utmost importance to make sure that these individuals are paid their own dues for their services.

After all, these professionals are still human beings who themselves have a need to live and still have the burdens of everything that comes with being alive. There is shelter, food, insurance, taxes, clothes, and all sorts of things. Most professionals also have people to care for, dependents to look after, and their own aspirations to achieve.

There have been some situations, however, when some insurance companies have failed to pay their dues to these practitioners. Fortunately, there are some states that have laws protecting the rights of these hard working professionals. According to the website of law firm Williams Kherkher, there is a law in Texas that protects the compensation rights of these workers. The Texas Prompt Pay Act allows any doctors or medical professionals who are not fully compensated within a specific time frame for their services for unjustifiable reasons, to file legal action in order to receive due compensation.

These processes can be difficult to work through, however, and the procedure is notably tedious. That is why it is recommended for anyone in a similar situation to contact experienced legal aid immediately in order to be rightly represented in a court of law.

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Copyright Law: Protecting Artists of both Today and Tomorrow

Mar 16, 2015 by

Sometimes, all it takes to change the world is an idea.

Take, for example, the work of Shakespeare: centuries after his passing, his language and stories have stayed with humankind and his words of beauty, love, and wisdom have stayed with generations and will last for generations to come. Artists, musicians, writers, and creative workers of all kinds have stayed in the hearts and minds of people forever – and it all came from a single idea.

In this day and age, with the advancement of technology, it has also become so much easier to steal ideas for the thought of profit instead of passion. Fortunately enough, there are certain laws that come into play in order to aggressively protect the rights of these people who dwell in the creative arts. This protection comes in the form of copyright laws.

According to the website of Gagnon, Peacock & Vereeke, these copyright laws extend to a wide range of materials such as those of a literary, visual, architectural nature – and more. The law protects the artists’ rights to own and distribute these ideas as well as gain the profit that their labors may accumulate. No work is considered irrelevant as even a verse or line of poetry or programming can be protected by copyright law. All it takes is the right kind of legal aid.

If you should ever find yourself in a situation wherein your work has been unjustly taken advantage of, or if someone you know is in similar circumstances, it is recommended that legal aid is sought in order to claim what is rightfully yours. There has been an intellectual stigma with those who dabble in the arts and their rights are just as worthy of protection as is any invention or discovery. That is why it is of the utmost importance to defend these same rights, in order to promote a generation of well-rounded individuals that are passionate about all forms of intelligence and life.

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