Personal Injury Blog

Injury Attorney: Texas Consistently Ranks the Worst in Nursing Home Care – Part 4

July 1st, 2015
English: Brynawelon Nursing Home,Croes-y-mwyal...

English: Brynawelon Nursing Home,Croes-y-mwyalch The nursing home is set back from Pentre Lane. Nearby, on the other side of the Lane, is the 3 Blackbirds. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sadly, nursing home abuse and neglect sometimes result in wrongful death in nursing homes. Family members and others with a financial interest in the deceased patient may have grounds to sue if a person died a wrongful death as a result of the nursing home staff’s negligence. When medical personnel do their jobs incorrectly, the result can be the death of an elderly person. The following are examples of cases in which a nursing home center was found to be at fault in the death of a patient:

A woman in her 80s became extremely dehydrated while staying at a nursing home. She had to be hospitalized. When she returned to the nursing home, pressure sores or bed sores developed; and she was once again hospitalized. The bed sores were so severe that the patient suffered from a bad infection that finally resulted in her death. The nursing home was sued for negligence and fraud. It was contended that the nursing home concealed the truth about the inadequacy of the staff to do the job correctly. The result of the wrongful death suit was that the deceased’s estate was awarded $83 million.

In another case, a 90-year-old man died as a result of numerous health complications that he suffered while staying at a nursing home. Those illnesses included anemia caused by a deficiency of iron, a breakdown of his skin, multiple strokes, and infections in his urinary tract. It was alleged that the nursing home facility was not adequately staffed and failed to follow their own protocols. For instance, they failed to contact the man’s doctor when he became ill. The case was settled with the man’s estate receiving $13.5 million

Read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of this continuing series to learn about the most common types of nursing home abuse and medical malpractice in nursing home care.

–Guest Contributor

Attorney for East Texas – Texas Consistently Ranks the Worst in Nursing Home Care – Part 3

June 24th, 2015
Photograph taken on the grounds of the Weinber...

Photograph taken on the grounds of the Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Elder physical abuse is an extremely serious issue. One study shows that in the three years following an elder abuse event, patients have a 300% higher risk of death. Research results are considered skewed because it is estimated that only one in six elders report abuse. When a patient suffers from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, it becomes even more difficult to identify signs of abuse.

Physical indicators were previously shared in this series, and the following are behavioral signs physical abuse of elders:

  • A history of hospitalizations or injuries for similar elder injuries.
  • Unlikely explanation regarding how an elderly patient’s injuries occurred.
  • Visits to various medical institutions, even though the patient has lived in the same area throughout the time of the medical visits.
  • Strained or tense relationships.
  • Delay between actual injury and the time medical care is sought.
  • Unexplained withdrawal from typical social interaction or activities that the elderly person enjoys.

The following are a few tips for helping to prevent elder physical abuse of your loved one who lives in a nursing home environment. The measures can significantly reduce incidents of abuse:

  • Visit often.
  • Pay close attention to behavioral or social patterns.
  • Be aware of the patient’s health conditions.
  • Keep up with financial obligations.
  • Speak to the staff about anything the patient says he or she does not like.

Read Part 1 and Part 2 of this continuing series to learn about the most common types of nursing home abuse and medical malpractice in nursing home care.

–Guest Contributor

Dallas Lawyer – Texas Consistently Ranks the Worst in Nursing Home Care – Part 2

June 18th, 2015
English: Ashefields Nursing Home.

English: Ashefields Nursing Home. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Residents of nursing homes are often too feeble to protect themselves or seek help, when victimized. It is estimated that about 1,800 deaths among senior citizens are caused by elder abuse every year.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse commonly occurs in nursing homes. Physical abuse is the use of violence or physical force that causes pain, injury, impairment, or bodily harm to the victim. Any type of inappropriate use of restraint, battery, and assault are also forms of abuse. Physical abuse against the elderly can be difficult to identify, partly because of the nature of assisted living facilities and nursing homes.

The following are types of physical abuse often inflicted upon the elderly in nursing homes:

  • Burns
  • Bites
  • Scratches
  • Inappropriate use of restraint
  • Threats or assault with a weapon, including knives and guns.
  • Being slapped, shoved, or struck.

The following are behavioral indicators that an elderly person is a victim of physical abuse:

  • Abrasions that resemble injuries caused by straps or ropes.
  • Internal injuries that are identified by pain or organs that malfunction.
  • Traumatic tooth or hair loss.
  • Dislocated joints, sprains, fractures, and broken bones.
  • Scalding burns, cigarette burns, and burns from appliances.
  • Injuries that appear to be healing from efforts made by the elderly patient.
  • “Wrap around” or multicolored bruises, particularly those which encircle an elderly person’s arms.

Read Part 1 and this continuing series to learn about the most common types of nursing home abuse and medical malpractice in nursing home care, including more about physical abuse.

–Guest Contributor

Dallas-Fort Worth Attorney – Texas Consistently Ranks the Worst in Nursing Home Care

June 10th, 2015
English: Alexandra Rose Nursing Home A family ...

English: Alexandra Rose Nursing Home A family were just taking some presents in to a friend or relative. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Among the 50 states, Texas ranks as the worst state for providing adequate nursing home care, according to at least two sources. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation released a report in May indicating that Texas is the worst, with only 12% of Texas nursing homes earning a 5-star rating, compared to the national average of 19%. For two years in a row, Families for Better Care (FBC), an advocacy group out of Florida, singled out Texas as doing the poorest job with elderly care in nursing homes. The eight categories on FBC’s nursing home report cards provide an insight into various types of nursing home abuse and neglect.

In Texas and many other states, nursing home residents suffer as a result of medical neglect and emotional and physical abuse. Federal, state, and local oversight over care of the elderly is grossly lacking. Unfortunately, it is not unusual for nursing home residents to become victims of various types of abuse and neglect. The first line of defense against abuse is for family members to pay close attention to their loved one’s situation and report signs of abuse or neglect.

With the elderly population increasing daily, social dynamics indicate that nursing home care will be favored over in-home care. Diligence is necessary to hold nursing homes accountable for failing to provide a safe environment which meets residents’ physical and emotional needs.

Read this continuing series to learn about the most common types of nursing home abuse and medical malpractice in nursing home care.

–Guest Contributor

 

Dallas Attorney – Three People Die from Listeria, Prompting Blue Bell Recall – Part 3

June 3rd, 2015
Ice Cream Van, taken summer 2003 in London by ...

Ice Cream Van, taken summer 2003 by C Ford (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Texans aren’t alone in their love of of Bell Ice Cream, as evidenced by the fact that it ranks as a top three best-selling ice cream brand in the U.S., in spite of it being available in only 30% of the nation’s grocery stores. Many are sad and disappointed about facing an entire summer without Blue Bell because the public won’t get another taste of it for several more months, at a minimum. The ongoing bad news is due to deadly listeria monocytogenes, the sometimes deadly foodborne bacterium that showed up in ice cream made at more than one Blue Bell factory and is said to have caused three deaths. The company is making major changes to ensure that the ice cream is free of listeria in the future.

Listeria is most often contracted as a result of eating deli meats that were improperly processed or unpasteurized milk products. Healthy people who are exposed to listeria rarely become ill from the infection, but it can be fatal to newborns, unborn babies, and people who have a weakened immune system. The effect of a listeria infection can be curbed by promptly receiving antibiotic treatment.

Listeria bacteria can be very difficult to completely get rid of. It can survive freezing, refrigeration, and can lie dormant for long periods of time and still cause infections. Anyone who is at risk for serious infections should avoid eating any of the kinds of foods that are most likely to contain listeria bacteria.

Symptoms of the infection may begin within days after contamination or as long as two months later. The following are initial symptoms of a listeria infection:

  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle aches

If the listeria infection spreads to your nervous system, you may experience:

  • Stiff neck
  • Headache
  • Loss of balance
  • Confusion or changes in alertness
  • Convulsions

If you ever learn of a food that has been recalled and that you’ve eaten, contact a doctor if you experience any of the above signs and symptoms. Do the same if you eat any of the foods that are prone to be contaminated and then become ill.

Seek emergency care if you experience a severe headache, high fever, confusion or sensitivity to light, and a stiff neck because these are signs and symptoms of bacterial meningitis, which is a complication of a listeria infection that can be life-threatening.

Learn more about Listeria in Part 1 and Part 2 of this three-part series.

–Guest Contributor

DFW Medical Malpractice Lawyer – Common Types of Medical Malpractice Suits Filed in Texas – Part 4

May 27th, 2015
English: Image of a surgeon operating on a pat...

English: Image of a surgeon operating on a patient. فارسی: تصویر یک جراح که بیمار را جراحی می‌کند. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Surgical Errors Continued

  • There are times when a surgeon performs a procedure that he or she lacks the skills to perform well enough to achieve successful results. A surgeon who is determined to be incompetent can be sued for damages.
  • Surgeons have a responsible for preoperative planning. Planning may include reviewing medical history and preparing for complications that could occur. Pre-op may include ensuring that necessary surgical equipment is ready and available during the procedure and ensuring proper preparation of assistants and nurses.
  • Improper work process can be considered a surgical error. Improper work processes occur when surgeons make the mistake of determining that certain steps during surgery are not necessary. When surgeons take shortcuts, the consequences can be serious, sometimes fatal.
  • Because physicians and surgeons frequently work long shifts, they often suffer from fatigue. People who are fatigued naturally tend to make more mistakes than people who are properly rested. It could be considered irresponsible to perform surgery while fatigued.
  • Neglect can be the reason for surgical errors leading to a lawsuit. Neglect can be the result of a surgeon failing to use proper care. For instance, if a surgeon uses defective surgical equipment or instruments that have not been properly sterilized, he or she could be guilty of neglect.
  • Surgeons sometimes become addicted to drugs and alcohol. If a surgeon performs surgery while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, he or she could be subject to a lawsuit.

Learn more about common types of medical malpractice cases in Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of this four-part series.

–Guest Contributor

Dallas Nursing Home Injury Lawyer: Common Types of Medical Malpractice Suits Filed in Texas – Part 3

May 20th, 2015
English: Anesthesiologist using Glidescope vid...

English: Anesthesiologist using Glidescope video laryngoscope to intubate the trachea of a morbidly obese patient with challenging airway anatomy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anesthesia Errors

Errors in administering anesthesia are typically more dangerous than mistakes made during surgery. If an anesthesiologist makes even a small error, the potential results are brain damage, permanent injury, and death. Prior to administering the anesthesia, an anesthesiologist can commit acts of medical malpractice by:

  • Failing to properly investigate and study the patient’s medical history, for the purpose of identifying potential complications; or by
  • Failing to ensure that the patient is aware of the seriousness of the risks involved with not following pre-operative instructions. For example, it is essential that the patient not eat for a certain number of hours prior to surgery.

Among the common anesthesia errors that occur during surgery are the following:

  • Administering too much anesthesia.
  • Failing to properly monitor the patient’s vital signs.
  • Using defective equipment.
  • Improperly intubating the patient, which involves placing a tube in the trachea in order to assist with breathing.

Surgical Errors

A surgical error is a preventable error that occurs while performing surgery. There are certain elements of risk in all surgeries. What sets surgical errors apart is that they are unexpected and go beyond the basic risks of surgery. The following are some of the reasons preventable surgical errors occur:

  • Poor Communication. There are many ways in which failure to properly communicate can result in a legitimate medical malpractice suit. Examples include: marking the wrong part of the body for surgery; failing to ensure that all needed surgical equipment is sterilized and on hand; and miscommunicating a patient’s prescription dosage.

Learn more about common types of medical malpractice cases in Part 1, Part 2, and this ongoing series. In the next segment, surgical errors will be continued.

–Guest Contributor

Sabra Issues Nationwide Recall of Classic Hummus

May 13th, 2015

In early April, Sabra Dipping Co., LLC voluntarily recalled about 30,000 cases of Classic Hummus. The reason for the recall was possible contamination with Listeria monocytogenes. Only five SKUs were included in the nationwide recall, and no other products made by Sabra were affected. No illnesses in connection with the recalled products have been reported.

Listeria monocytogenes, usually referred to simply as listeria, is an organism that causes infections in children, the frail or elderly, and in others who have weakened immune systems. The food-borne infections are sometimes very serious and are sometimes deadly. Healthy people exposed to listeria often suffer short-term symptoms, such as severe headache, high fever, nausea, stiffness, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. In addition, listeria has been known to cause miscarriages and stillbirths among women who are pregnant.

The following is a list of products Sabra recalled. They were distributed in U.S. retail outlets such as supermarkets and food service accounts. The UPC/SKU code and “use by” dates are located on the top of each package. The “Use by” dates on all items shows: 3 059 Best Before/Meilleur Avant 2015 May 11. The only exception is the top product listed below, which also has the use by date of 3 059 Best Before/Meilleur Avant 2015 May 15:

  • Sabra Classic Hummus 10 oz; UPC/SKU: 040822011143 / 300067
  • Sabra Classic Hummus 30 oz; UPC/SKU: 040822014687 / 300074
  • Sabra Classic Hummus without Garnish 32 oz; UPC/SKU: 040822342049 / 301216
  • Sabra Classic Hummus 17 oz Six Pack; UPC/SKU: 040822017497 / 301290
  • Hummus Dual Pack Classic/Garlic 23.5oz; UPC/SKU: 040822342209 / 301283

The possibility for contamination by listeria was discovered by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development on March 30, 2015, during a random, routine sample collection at a retail location.

Anyone who has purchased any of the recalled items is urged to dispose of them or return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions about this recall may call the following number toll free Monday through Friday between 9 am and 4:30 pm CST: 1-888-957-2272.

–Guest Contributor

 

Dallas Medical Malpractice Attorney: Common Types of Medical Malpractice Suits Filed in Texas – Part 2

May 6th, 2015
Newborn child, seconds after birth. The umbili...

Newborn child, seconds after birth. The umbilical cord has not yet been cut. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Childbirth Injuries

Medical malpractice is sometimes the cause of fetal injuries, though reasons other than medical malpractice are often found to be the cause of:

  • Brain injuries, including seizure disorders and cerebral palsy;
  • Erb’s or Klumpke’s palsy, which involve damage to nerves that control the hands and arms; and
  • Fractured bones.

A mother, a fetus, or both are sometimes harmed due to negligent prenatal care, such as when an obstetrician or physician fails to:

  • Identify birth defects.
  • Identify ectopic pregnancies.
  • Diagnose a medical condition suffered by the mother, such as anemia, hypoglycemia, Rh incompatibility, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia.
  • Diagnose a disease that could be passed on to the fetus, such as neonatal lupus and genital herpes.

A mother or her infant can be harmed as a result of negligence during childbirth. Common medical mistakes that occur during childbirth include the obstetrician’s or physician’s failure to:

  • Competently use a vacuum extractor or forceps;
  • Anticipate complications of birth caused by a tangled umbilical cord or the large size of the infant’s head;
  • Control excessive post-delivery maternal blood loss;
  • Monitor the infant’s oxygen intake before and after delivery;
  • Respond appropriately to signs of fetal distress; and
  • Order a cesarean section when it is appropriate for the health of the mother, the baby, or both.

Learn more about common types of medical malpractice cases in Part 1 and this continuing series.

–Guest Contributor

Dallas, Texas Attorney: Common Types of Medical Malpractice Suits Filed in Texas

April 29th, 2015
English: PACIFIC OCEAN (Aug. 10, 2007) - Lt. C...

English: PACIFIC OCEAN (Aug. 10, 2007) – Lt. Cmdr. Angela Powell, an otolaryngologist assisted by Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Daniel Vogel a surgical technician, performs surgery aboard the Military Sealift Command (MSC) hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20). Comfort is on a four-month humanitarian deployment to Latin America and the Caribbean providing medical treatment to patients in a dozen countries. U.S. Navy photo by Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Jean A. Wertman (RELEASED) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When a patient is harmed due to the negligence of a nurse or doctor, a medical malpractice suit can be filed. Not every mistake made by medical personnel is a valid cause for a malpractice suit. Research shows that there are certain mistakes made by doctors and nurses that account for the majority of all medical malpractice suits.

Delayed Diagnosis or Misdiagnosis

A large percentage of complaints that patients make against people in the medical profession are related to a condition being misdiagnosed and the failure to make the proper diagnosis has dire consequences, such as death or advancement of a serious disease. Although it may seem that the these facts alone prove negligence, that is not always the case. Proving this type of malpractice can be complicated because there are numerous medical reasons for a misdiagnosis.

What ultimately must be proven in this type of case is that the doctor or nurse took actions that would not have typically been taken by others in the profession under the same circumstances. Medical personnel are not blamed for defective medical equipment, for a patient’s choice in concealing information for the sake of discretion, for a language barrier, or for other circumstances which demonstrate that there was a reasonable explanation for the misdiagnosis. Failure to adhere to physicians’ standards or laziness leading to blatant wrongdoing are, however, warranted circumstances for filing a medical practice suit for a misdiagnosis or a delayed diagnosis.

Learn more about common types of medical malpractice cases in this continuing series.

–Guest Contributor