Reports recently released by staff of the Special Investigations Division of the House Government Reform Committee document that 30% of the nation’s 5,283 nursing homes have had reported instances of abuse and neglect during the most recent two-year period. Elder abuse is often under-reported, or not reported at all, but the investigation still revealed a staggering 9,000 reported instances of abuse. While a number of the reports involved one resident being slapped by another, nearly two thousand of the reports were serious enough to “place the residents in immediate jeopardy of death or serious injury.”
When a resident or patient is injured by a nursing home or elder care facility employee, they can be held financially accountable with a successful personal injury lawsuit. This was unfortunately the path one Massachusetts family had to take after a loved one died while in an assisted living facility. The lawsuit filed by the family’s attorneys, David Hoey and Krzysztof Sobczak, alleged that the facility failed to properly train and supervise its staff, follow physician’s orders, and care for the woman’s medical conditions.
The woman had a reported forty documented falls in only a three-year span, which often resulted in injuries ranged from bruises and sores to more serious ailments. As a result of her frequent falls, the woman had to be hospitalized four times in only three years. Her more serious injuries included right and left hip fractures, a fractured humerus bone, and a subarachnoid hemorrhage, a form of bleeding in the brain. The subarachnoid hemorrhage reportedly made it difficult both for the woman to consume fluids and food and to communicate, and ultimately was a factor in her death three months after her last hospital visit. The family alleged that the facility failed to properly supervise the woman which allegedly resulted in her dozens of falls and the injuries that lead to her death. Rather than go through a full trial, the assisted living facility agreed to pay the woman $1.3 million.