Tennessee Injury Lawyer Blog

Articles Posted in Nursing Home Neglect

In this case, Eliza Jennings worked until she was in her eighties. Then, she moved into Terrace Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in 2004. According to the lawsuit, Jennings developed severe pressure sores which caused her nerve endings to become exposed and she developed infections such as E Coli. She lost the use of her arms and legs due to them not getting enough motion and she was left sitting in feces and urine. She also had bad skin rashes. The lawsuit also found evidence that the nursing home had a policy to leave its residents in adult briefs for long periods of time without changing them in order to save money on those products.

Jennings’ family filed a wrongful death and neglect lawsuit in 2010. After an eight-day trial, Jennings’ estate has been awarded $18 million. The lawyer for this case stated that, “When she passed away, she was in the condition that no human being should be left in. No one deserves to suffer the way that she did. She was allowed to suffer needlessly. That was the number one thing that the family wanted to see is that no one ever has to go through this type of neglect, ever again.” An employee with Terrace Nursing and Rehabilitation Center said they would not comment on the outcome of the lawsuit.

Nursing homes often do not have enough employees for all the residents or they are improperly trained in how to care for the residents. If you are considering a nursing home for someone you care about then it is a good idea to visit the homes you are considering and check them out. Make sure you talk to the staff about their training procedures, meal plans, and daily schedules for the residents. It is also a good idea to note how the residents seem when you visit. If they seem like they are in pain or have poor hygiene, then you may want to ask the staff additional questions or consider another nursing home. Finally, you should visit your loved one often while they are in the nursing home to check for signs of physical, mental or emotional abuse or neglect such as bruises, scars, cuts, scrapes, your loved one seeming distant or withdrawal or if they seem agitated or worried.

When our loved ones can no longer take care of themselves, we want them to go somewhere where they will be treated with respect and properly taken care of and looked after. Unfortunately, many nursing homes are understaffed and do not provide adequate training for their employees and this can lead to cases of nursing home abuse and neglect. If someone you love has been a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, you should speak to one of our nursing home abuse lawyers with the Higgins Firm. We will listen to your case and will work with you to make sure you get the compensation you are entitled to by law for the injuries and suffering your family has been through.

If you suspect that any abuse or neglect has taken place, then it is crucial that you contact one of our experienced and compassionate nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at the Higgins Firm. We know how important your loved one’s care and health is to you and we will answer any questions you may have. We will also see to it that you receive any compensation that may be rightfully yours for what you have suffered and we will work to make sure that the nursing home responsible for the abuse and neglect is held accountable for their actions.

You can contact us online or by calling 800.705.2121 to discuss your case and any questions you might have.

When you have to make the tough decision to place your elderly loved one in a nursing home, you want to know that they will receive the best care possible. Unfortunately, many nursing homes are understaffed and the staff they do have are overworked. Also, many nursing homes fail to properly train their employees to handle the care that patients may need. If you suspect that your loved one may have been the victim of abuse or neglect while in the nursing home, you should talk to one of our experienced nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers at the Higgins Firm. We care about our clients and will fight on your behalf to make sure you get the compensation you deserve for what you and your loved ones have been through.
According to this case, Donelson Place Care and Rehabilitation Center put patients into immediate danger when the nursing staff failed to follow doctors’ orders to make sure that patients received breathing assistance from physician-prescribed devices. One patient had to be hospitalized and had to have a tube inserted into his trachea as a result of this failure.
During the May 19th through 22nd the nursing home received a revisit inspected where state surveyors cited Donelson Place Care and Rehabilitation Center for violations in the standards for administration, nursing services, social work services and resident rights. Their failure to pass this revisit survey last month resulted in punitive actions on June 4th of this year. These actions include a three thousand dollar fine and being put under a special monitor after a series of quality care failures. These problems began in December according data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
State Health Commissioner Dr. John Dreyzehner suspended new admissions because of a determination that conditions at the nursing home presented a detriment to the health, safety and welfare of residents. The Donelson nursing home did not take questions from The Tennessean and referred inquiries to Ben Adkins, media relations manager for Signature HealthCARE. Adkins stated that, “We are working through the issues and exploring all of our options. We have been in the process of making changes at Donelson. We are committed to continuous improvement at that facility.”
According to the Medicare’s nursing home compare website, Donelson Place Care and Rehabilitation Center has a one star or much below average rating.
If you are trying to decide on the best nursing home for your loved one, you should visit the Medicare Nursing Home compare website to see if the nursing homes you are considering have a good rating for their care and if they have enough beds for all the patients as well as a adequate number of staff per resident. Another step you should take is to visit the home before deciding on one. Do the residents seem happy and well cared for or are they left alone frequently and seem to be in pain? It is a good idea to talk with the nursing home staff about training procedures they have or what kinds of steps they take to prevent injuries or neglect. Once you decide on a home you like, one of the best things you can do to help prevent neglect or abuse from occurring is to visit your loved one often. You can check for bruises, cuts, sores or other physical scarring. It is a good idea to also notice whether or not your loved one seems distant or withdrawn. These can be signs of abuse or neglect.
If you seen these signs of abuse or neglect, you should speak to the nursing home right away about your concerns. If this does not seem to resolve the issue then you can speak to the state Department of Health. You should also contact one of our knowledgeable nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys with the Higgins Firm. We know how important your loved one’s health and safety is to you and we will do everything we can to make sure you get the compensation you are entitled to and the party responsible is held accountable for their actions.
Please contact us today online or by calling 800.705.2121 to discuss your legal options.

It is disturbing to hear that a Memphis Nursing Home has so many care issues that its federal funding has been cut and residents forced to move. News sources discovered that the harsh sanction was related to deficiencies state surveyors found during a recent visit. The news source visited the facility in order to speak with an administrator after a concerned family member sent an email about the issue. An unidentified employee asked the news source to leave. The Signature Healthcare Company was then emailed and contacted by the news source.
The Signature Healthcare Company confirmed that beginning on April 11th, it would no longer be paid by the federal government or the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid for Medicare and Medicaid resident care. This is important because many nursing home residents and patients are receiving Medicare and the facilities get reimbursed for their care. The move by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid seems to be a disciplinary action.
Signature Healthcare’s Media Relations Manager Ben Adkins stated that instead of issuing the facility a monetary fine for the survey findings, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid decided to cut the funding. “We are working through appropriate channels of recourse to try and get this rarely-used remedy changed, or at least delayed for the safety and well-being of our residents,” stated Adkins. The administrator who answered our questions at the time is no longer in that position at Saint Francis. Officials with the Tennessee State Department of Health would only say at the time, that it was related to an extended, annual survey and multiple complaint investigations.  Adkins states that the company is offering to relocate residents to other nursing homes in Memphis, including Signature facilities until the state finds the facility corrected the violations, at which time the nursing home will be eligible to receive federal funding again. Signature states that it will also transfer some of its staff to other facilities it owns in the area so no jobs are lost. According to Adkins, the company plans to inform the state as early as next week that the facility is back in compliance.
There are many nursing homes that receive fines and funding cuts due to nursing home abuse, neglect, and other violations. There are many ways nursing home abuse and neglect can be prevented. Some of these ways include providing more education and training for the staff, making sure residents that are prone to bedsores are turned or their position is changed often, paying close attention to those residents with certain nutritional or dietary needs, communicating with the family and loved ones about the care that is being given and why. It is also important that family members visit often and watch for signs of abuse such as bruising, scarring, bleeding, or signs that the loved one is quiet, withdrawn or seems easily agitated. It is important that any signs of abuse or neglect be reported.
If you believe that your loved one may be a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, we strongly advise that you contact one of our experienced and compassionate Tennessee nursing abuse and neglect lawyers with the Higgins Firm. We care about our clients and will listen to you and work with you to see to it that you receive the compensation you may be entitled to for what your family has suffered.
Contact us online or call 800.705.2121 for your free consultation to discuss your legal needs and options.

A recent report has cited Tennessee nursing homes as earning a barely passing grade in a national nursing home study. Families For Better Care is the organization that conducted the study grading each state on the quality of its nursing home. Families For Better Care is a non-profit advocacy group that is dedicated to creating public awareness of conditions in nursing homes throughout the country. In the report issued by the organization, the states were given letter grades corresponding to their total rank out of the 50 states. The top ten states including the top ranked Alaska earned A’s while the bottom ten ranked states including the worst ranked Texas earned F’s. Tennessee ranked 38th in the country, earning a D in the report. If your loved ones have experienced first-hand a lack of care in a nursing home, contact our team of Tennessee nursing home abuse attorneys.

What trends did the national report find?
The report conducted an analysis of a number of different issues across the country. The staffing of nursing homes played an integral part of the study. States that had an abundance of nurses and other caregivers earned higher marks than states with lower staff numbers. The report also looked at the time of professional nursing care that a nursing home resident received each day. Nearly 96% of states including Tennessee offered residents fewer than three hours of direct resident care per day. The report also found that nearly 90% of nursing homes had deficiencies. Another disturbing issue that the report cited was the widespread trend of abuse and neglect. Approximately 1 in 5 nursing homes abused, neglected, or even mistreated its residents in nearly half of all states.

What about Tennessee nursing homes?
Tennessee nursing homes did not measure up very well according to this report. Ranking 38th overall, Tennessee earned an overall grade of a D. According to the report, Tennessee is among the poorest staffed nursing home states and failed in every staffing measure. Residents on average received only 40 minutes of professional nursing home care per day. On a more positive note, though, Tennessee is one of the states with the lowest percentage of nursing home deficiencies.

How do I know if my loved one has experienced nursing home abuse or neglect?
Your loved one may have adversely experienced nursing home abuse or neglect due to staffing issues. However, you may be wondering how you can tell if your loved ones have. There are a number of common warning signs of nursing home abuse or neglect that may include:
• Bedsores • Open wounds or cuts • Bruising • Sudden weight loss • Dehydration • Infections • Malnutrition • Poor personal hygiene • Signs of insects or other pests within the room • Other related health issues Continue Reading

We have represented families in Nursing Home Neglect cases for years. One problem that we frequently see involves the over-medicating of residents. Obviously, medication can be necessary but for less scrupulous nursing home employees it can be also be easy means to sedate your residents so the are less of a “bother”. A recent study revealed just how common this problem is across Tennessee.

I was recently interviewed on this topic. If you would like to watch the interview here it is:


 
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It is illegal to use physical restraints in a Tennessee Nursing Home without legitimate medical reasoning and oversight. This makes obvious sense. You don’t just tie someone down because it would make it easier to take care of them. However, what most people don’t know is that some poorly operated nursing homes can restrain people with medication. Of course, this can be just as cruel as a physical restraint.

Recently, I was interviewed regarding some disturbing statistics on over medicating Nursing Home Residents. You can watch the interview below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pS7qwTmZ-w0
 
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The birth of a child is supposed to be a momentous occasion for any family. While there are a number of potential health issues with each birth, we have an expectation that the doctors will act accordingly to minimize the risks of any potential problems. Unfortunately, sometimes the doctors’ actions can result in avoidable birth injuries. A birth injury from a baby boy in 2005 has made recent headlines after a substantial award from a Tennessee jury. If your child has suffered a birth injury as a result of medical malpractice, we encourage you to contact a Tennessee medical malpractice attorney today to discuss your legal options.

Earlier this week a Memphis jury awarded $33.5 million to cover the future health care costs and other damages due to a boy, now 8 years old, who had suffered severe birth injuries. The injuries resulted from lengthy delays in performing an urgently needed cesarean section even after the prompting of other physicians. Because of the delays in performing the surgery, the child was born with severe brain damage that left him with cognitive impairments as well as a form of cerebral palsy, known as spastic quadriplegia. This type of cerebral palsy significantly restricts the body’s ability to use its arms and legs and control necessary functions. The child will have to struggle with the effects of this condition for the remainder of his life.

The jury, comprised of 10 women and two men, rendered a unanimous verdict against obstetrician Gary Lipscomb, M.D., and his employer, UT Medical Group, Inc. The case was heard in Shelby County Circuit Court in Memphis, Tennessee.

After being seen and tested by a doctor at UT Medical Group’s high risk obstetrical clinic, the mother of the child was sent by a doctor to hospital to deliver the child. Tests had shown that the fetus was showing signs of stress and would be subjected to significant risk of injury if not delivered quickly. However, the doctors did not have the mother deliver the child until six hours after her arrival to the hospital. Even after doctors had scheduled the urgently needed surgery for that afternoon, that deadline was missed by 79 minutes. Evidence presented at trial showed that even if the birth had taken place 20 minutes earlier than it actually did the injuries to the child would have been prevented.

The lead attorney on the case stated, “The jury delivered justice to this little boy, whose life was tragically and avoidably altered.”
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People across the country and here in Tennessee often turn to nursing homes for the care of their aging or disabled loved ones. However, there are a number of issues that arise in nursing homes. Specifically, nursing home abuse has become a real problem with one out of every three nursing homes in the country being cited for such mistreatment. Whether stemming from malnutrition, dehydration or even mental or sexual abuse, nursing home abuse can take a variety of forms. One of the more common forms of nursing home abuse in Tennessee and throughout our country is the overmedication of nursing home residents.

While one of the most important aspects of nursing home care involves determining whether residents are receiving the proper doses of their medication, nursing homes have all too often been found to overmedicate residents. With residents averaging between seven and eight different medications in a month, medicating residents can be a very involved process. If the nursing home staff is not attentive, overmedication of your loved one can easily occur. Even with federal regulations in place to ensure a system for the proper medication of residents, overmedication occurs much too often.

A number of recent statistics demonstrate just how prevalent overmedication is within nursing homes. In 2010, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reported that nearly 17 percent of nursing home residents were receiving antipsychotic medications that exceeded recommended levels on a daily basis. While this percentage varies from state to state, it has been found as high as 25 percent in California and an astonishing 71 percent in Florida. Another statistic shows that in 2010 as high as 40 percent of nursing home residents were given antipsychotic drugs despite not being diagnosed with psychoses.

Even with these alarming statistics about overmedication, a large portion of nursing home abuse cases go unreported. If you have loved ones being cared for in a nursing home facility, it is important to watch for any warning signs of overmedication. Some of the more common signs of residents being overmedicated may include:

• Erratic personality or behavioral changes • Sudden reclusive actions toward staff, family, or friends • Exhaustion or fatigue • Confusion • Oversleeping • Other medical complications
The emerging trend of using medication, specifically psychoactive medication, to control residents is obviously alarming and extremely dangerous. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has estimated that nearly 15,000 nursing home residents die each year from unprescribed anti-psychotic medication. Unfortunately, there are a number of reasons why nursing homes turn to using anti-psychotic medication, including nursing home staff shortages and even a “drug-first” mentality to treat residents.
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In Tennessee and all across the United States, people put their loved ones in nursing homes every day, expecting that they will be well cared for. However, many patients suffer from abuse, negligent, and in some cases patients even die as a result of medical malpractice and negligence. Tennessee Wrongful Death lawsuits can be filed for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to: motorcycle or car accidents, defective products, an occupational hazard or medical malpractice or negligence. Medical malpractice is one of the most common causes for wrongful death in the United States. About 98, 000 Americans have died a wrongful death due to medical malpractice and 90, 000 of these cases filed for wrongful death claims.

According to this Nursing Home Neglect lawsuit, on December 13, 2011, a woman died after suffering a subdural and subarachnoid hematoma. Although devastated at her loss, it was a situation the family could understand. Sadly, this family was lied to, although the real facts were not revealed until they were watching the evening news. The newscaster announced that the coroner’s office ruled the cause of death a homicide because she was assaulted by an Alzheimer’s patient.
The family went to the nursing home seeking answers following the news report. They were avoided by staff members. The victim’s son doesn’t blame the other resident, but he was shocked by the lies and could not believe the lack of supervision provided by the nursing home staff. The altercation happened in the dining room, where no supervision was present.

According to the case, the family originally sought an apology and $30,000 to cover the woman’s hospital bills; however the nursing home refused to accept accountability. Now the facility is facing a wrongful death lawsuit. An inspection in January 2011 cited the nursing home for failure to provide adequate supervision to prevent a fall in the Alzheimer’s unit. In response the nursing home submitted a plan of correction and promised not to leave Alzheimer’s residents unsupervised in the dining room. The plan was never effectively implemented.
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By now you have probably heard about the employee’s failure to perform CPR on a resident because it was against the company’s policy. Shocking to say the least. We know that families place their elderly loved ones in nursing homes each year. When doing so, they expect that their loved ones will be properly taken care of and looked after. Unfortunately, many nursing homes are understaffed, overworked, and improperly trained. This can and unfortunately often leads to nursing home abuse and neglect for many patients. If you feel that someone you love has been injured or died as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect, then you should talk to a Tennessee nursing home neglect lawyer as soon as possible.

According to this case, a nurse at Glenwood Gardens which is operated by Brentwood-based Brookdale Senior Living Inc, refused to give CPR to Lorraine Bayless following her collapse last Tuesday in the dining room. She was barely breathing. The woman called 911, stating that it was against the facility’s policy for the staff to perform CPR.

Tracey Halvorson, the dispatcher who received the call, stated that, “I understand if your boss is telling you, you can’t do it,” but … as a human being … you know, is there anybody that’s willing to help this lady and not let her die?” The woman replied “Not at this time.” Bayless was declared dead at Mercy Southwest Hospital later Tuesday.

State officials said they did not know whether the woman who talked to the 911 dispatcher was actually a nurse, or if she just identified herself as one during the call. Russ Heimerich, spokesman for the Board of Registered Nursing, the agency that licenses health care providers, stated that, the consensus is if they are a nurse and if they are at work as a nurse, then they should be offering the appropriate medical care.”

According to the case, Bayless did not have a “do not resuscitate” order on file. Jeffrey Toomer, the executive director of Glenwood Gardens, stated that, the woman did indeed follow policy. He also stated that, “In the event of a health emergency at this independent living community our practice is to immediately call emergency medical personnel for assistance and to wait with the individual needing attention until such personnel arrives. That is the protocol we followed.” Toomer stated that a “thorough internal review” of the incident would be conducted. Police are also conducting an investigation. Toomer also stated that, “residents of the home’s independent living community are informed of the “no-CPR” policy and agree to it when they move in.”
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