Tennessee Injury Lawyer Blog

Articles Posted in Nursing Home Neglect

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:


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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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In Tennessee and all across the country, 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 lawyer as soon as possible.

According to this case, a lawsuit has been filed against a nursing home after one of the patients was allegedly sexually assaulted. The complaint states that around July 17, 2010, an elderly woman who lived at the Apple Rehab Bunker Hill facility was sexually assaulted by an unknown person. The attack allegedly happened in her bedroom, but does not specify if the suspect was an employee, guest, or another resident.

The lawsuit claims that the nursing home failed to protect the victim from sexual assault, failed to provide adequate security, and failed to report the assault to family members as well as police. However, a spokesperson for the facility says that, “The rehab’s policy includes a full investigation into the facts and findings and continues to commit full resources to uncover the facts which continue to unfold.”

The family is asking for the rehab facility to pay more than $15,000 to cover the costs of medical and funeral costs. The family claims because of the reported incident here, the woman suffered a fear of sexually transmitted diseases, conscious pain and suffering, severe emotional distress and eventually death. The criminal investigation to this is ongoing.
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Imperial Gardens Health and Rehabilitation Center, located at 306 W. Due West Road in Madison, Tennessee has been found by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) to be woefully non-compliant with federal regulations. Our Tennessee Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers are currently reviewing cases from this facility. Medicare has ordered that funding for residents placed in the home will cease in thirty (30) days and that no new residents will be admitted. The State of Tennessee has stepped in and begun making preparation for the transfer of residents still at the facility to alternate placements.

The thrust of the report issued by CMS centered around the widespread neglect observed at the facility. The most significant and consistent complaint was the failure to properly administer medications to the residents that were critically ill and in pain. In the inspection report (found here: http://www.tennessean.com/interactive/article/20130226/NEWS07/130226024/DOCUMENT-Imperial-Gardens-Inspection-Report ), many instances involving many different residents detail such failures of the home and its staff to give medication timely, to give the correct dose of medication and, in some instances, to give the right type of medication.

In our practice in Tennessee and throughout the Southeast, we represent victims of nursing home abuse and neglect and their families. Many times, the ability of nursing home nurses and assistants to provide care is hampered by the administration and management of the facility. The mentality of putting profits over people results in a nursing home’s unwillingness to spend money to provide enough skilled and trained employees to meet the needs of residents in the facility. The facility has a duty, once it agrees to accepts someone’s family or loved one, to provide the appropriate level of care to ensure that person’s well being. Unfortunately, that is not always done.
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In Tennessee and all across the country, 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.

According to a federal report, the U.S. nursing home industry overcharges Medicare by $1.5 billion a year for treatments patients do not really need or fail to receive. Thirty percent of for profit nursing home claims were considered improper compared to twelve percent of claims from non-profit nursing homes. According to the report from the inspector general’s office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in nursing homes, seventy-eight percent of $105 billion in revenues go to for profit in 2010 which is up from seventy-two percent in 2002, according to the latest government report.

Life Care, based in Cleveland, Tennessee, has denied wrongdoing despite a claim that a Life Care Center in South Carolina placed an eighty year old woman who could not keep her eyes open in a standing frame for eighty-four minutes of psychical and occupational therapy two days before her death. This case is just one in several where Life Care has overcharged for unnecessary care. Many U.S. for profit nursing homes have been faced with cases of pushing patients, having patients that were visibly soiled or had bed sores among other cases of improper care and treatment.

According to 2010 law issued during President Barack Obama’s first term, health care providers are encouraged to form “accountable care organizations” that combine doctor practices with hospital groups, which could add to their pricing power. The November study that found $1.5 billion in improper nursing-home bills equal to about five percent of total Medicare outlays to the facilities was by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services office of inspector general. This study followed a 2010 OIG report that found for-profit nursing homes were nearly twice as likely as nonprofits to bill Medicare at the highest rate for patients of similar ages and diagnoses.
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