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Articles Posted in Nursing Home Neglect

Nursing home abuse and neglect litigation continues to be on the rise in Tennessee and around the Country. Many large nursing home chains have created a system to maximize profits at the expense of providing proper care. Additionally, State surveys of nursing homes reflect glaring deficiencies in care that are not apparent to a first time visitor to the home who is deciding whether or not to place a parent or loved one there.

People who have relatives that need nursing home care due to advanced medical conditions, dementia or other illnesses that require total assistance care have a difficult choice to make in deciding where to place their relative. Advertisements for nursing homes certainly do not provide detailed information about deficiencies or problems in the homes. For such a critical decision, and with such a large number of facilities that receive below average marks for care, it is important that one thoroughly investigates the nursing home when considering where to place a loved one.

One tool that has been recently opened to the public that provides some information is through ProPublica, a non-profit investigative journalism company. The tool is a Nursing Home Inspection database that covers nearly 118,000 deficiencies in 14,565 nursing homes. The database uses State surveys and information from Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare database and attempts to provide more detailed information about specific deficiencies. While it is not perfect, the database is a good starting point to help in the evaluation of any particular nursing home and to help in the placement decision.

The database provides a snapshot in time of deficiencies and does not focus on corrective action taken by any nursing home. However, if you know of a documented deficiency, that will help you in asking the right questions to find out if the deficiency has been addressed. This tool is helpful, but it is only as complete as the information that has been analyzed. State Surveys and the Medicare database provide additional information that may not be reflected in the database.
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In Tennessee and all across the United States, we expect working employees to be respectable and honest individuals, especially people in service positions such as an executive for a nursing home. Unfortunately, however, sometimes this is not the case. If you or someone you know has witnessed or may suspect a crime at your workplace or anywhere else, it is recommended that you contact the police and a Tennessee nursing home neglect lawyer as soon as possible.

In a recent case, John D. Henderson has received a sentence of five years and three months in prison for accepting kickbacks from contractors and also for evading taxes. He has also been ordered to pay almost $700,000 in restitution, federal taxes, and penalties. Henderson is the former director of maintenance and renovations for the Medical Facilities of America which runs forty nursing homes. He has been convicted of demanding kickbacks for giving different companies contracts for construction work at some of those forty nursing homes.

He has pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and two counts of tax evasion in a federal court in March. Four contractors have also been convicted of paying him kickbacks.
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Recently the Colonial Hills Nursing Home was forced to close after losing its Medicare and Medicaid contract because of six violations with the Tennessee Health Department. The nursing home is now being faced with from the families of some of the former patients. In one case, the family of Bettye Martin filed a wrongful death lawsuit in May claiming that she suffered from injuries, neglect, and poor hygiene that led to her death.

In another case, the family of Zelma Lou Gibson filed a nursing home abuse lawsuit in January which alleges medical negligence which caused injuries that eventually led to diminished physical and mental abilities. The Life Care Centers of America which ran the nursing home stated that, “At Life Care Centers of America, residents are our highest priority. We strive to provide a homelike atmosphere in each Life Care center,” in response to these and other lawsuits.
Cases just like this one occur all too often in Tennessee as well as all over the United States. Many people do not know what signs of abuse and neglect to look for until it is too late. Here is a list of the most common signs of nursing home abuse and neglect so that you can help make sure your loved ones are being properly cared for. Nursing home abuse is physical, emotional or just plain neglect. Some of the physical signs include:
• Bed sores • Falls that occur with no explanation • Dehydration
• Loss of Weight • No appetite • Wounds, bruises, broken bones
Some of the emotional signs of abuse and plain neglect include:
• Behavioral changes
• Unexplained or unusual behavior • Withdrawn behavior or an unwillingness to communicate • Poor hygiene • Skin sores or discoloring
• Medication being withheld or an excess given • Unsanitary conditions • Poor diet • Lack of needed assistance

Knowing these signs can help you be prepared to report abuse and make sure the ones you care about are getting the care they need.
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In a recent case, Henry Frazier who had advanced Parkinson’s disease started staying at the nursing home in September of 2010 when he was eighty-eight years old. Henry Frazier got a pressure sore on his bottom and they family stated that they were not told how severe the pressure sore actually was. His family visited Frazier often including his children. When the pressure sore developed an infection, a nursing aide at the facility finally informed his son that he needed to look at the severity of the sore.

The family then asked that Frazier be taken to the hospital and when he got there, he was diagnosed with being septic, dehydrated and malnourished. His pressure sore was also categorized as a Stage IV wound. The family decided to file a lawsuit against the nursing home because, they “just didn’t want this to happen to other people,” the lawsuit stated.
A jury awarded Frazier’s family $3.2 million because they found the nursing home negligent of Frazier’s care.

In Tennessee and all over the United States, people place their trust in nursing homes to care for and protect their loved ones. Unfortunately, many times nursing home facilities have under trained or overworked staff and this can result in the improper care and negligent of many of the residents. If you feel like someone you care about has been improper treated or neglected while in a nursing them, then you should speak with a Tennessee nursing home abuse and neglect lawyer as soon as possible.
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In Tennessee and all across the country, people place their elderly loved ones in nursing homes and assisted living facilities when they can no longer care for them. People expect that their loved ones will be well cared for and protected from any harm. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Many nursing homes and other living facilities for the elderly are understaffed and improperly trained. This can result in the abuse or neglect of loved ones. If you feel that your loved one may have been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, it is important that you talk to a Tennessee nursing home abuse and personal injury lawyer right away. They can work with you to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.

According to this case, Donald Reeder, eighty-three was beaten on December 24, 2011 by his eighty-nine year old roommate who also suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia like Reeder. Reeder died on January 10, 2011 and it was determined that it was caused by the after effects of the beating. Reeder roommate Orville Hayes was never charged and later died on February 12, 2011. Police found out about the beating when the ambulance driver for Reeder called them on the way to the hospital.

According to the police reports, it was later discovered that the assisted living facility failed to inform the police of the beating and also failed to investigate the incident. It was also discovered that the facility’s employees cleaned up the crime scene and removed the murder weapon before the police got there. The cane which had been broken in two and covered with blood was found near Hayes’ bed, according to police. The staff member that found Reeder told an investigator that when she asked Reeder about what had occurred, he said that Hayes was trying to kill him. According to the state report, Hayes said Reeder had beaten himself.

The facility has been cited with several violations including failing to report the incident to Adult Protective Services and also failing to provide proper care and staff to the facility’s twenty-two current residents. Other violations include permitting improperly trained staff to dispense prescription medications and failing to prevent patients from suffering from several falls which meant emergency hospitalization for some of them.
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Our firm has handled Nursing Home Neglect cases for years. Unfortunately, when the case gets to our office the damage has been done. Jim Higgins was recently interviewed about ways to find a nursing home that will care for someone’s loved one. You can watch the interview below:

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In Tennessee and all across the United States, people rely on nursing homes to take care of and provide for their elderly loved ones. Unfortunately, many nursing homes are understaffed and their employees are improperly trained and this leads to sickness, abuse, and neglect of nursing home residents. In a recent case, more than one hundred residents at the Colonial Hills Nursing Center are being relocated following the nursing center losing its certification with the centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services due to problems such as sexual assaults on two residents, incorrect medication being given out, and patients getting sick due to overly salted food all over the past year. Beecher Hunter, president of Life Care Centers of America, a company that operates nursing homes in several states, said they had corrected the problems when they got the termination order and will be refurbishing the facility with the goal of reopening.

In June, following an investigation of the nursing home, ninety-five pages of deficiencies were discovered and there was also the potential for harm to some residents found as well. Vincent Davis, director of health care facilities for the Tennessee Department of Health said that, “some residents on blood thinners were also given antibiotics, which could cause serious increased bleeding.” In another incident in August, an employee at the nursing home took a photo of a resident placing a diaper on their head. Then in November, one of the cooks at the facility put twenty-five pounds of salt into twelve pounds of pureed beats which were later eaten by nine residents. Of the nine residents who had eaten the beats, eight became ill and two were hospitalized.

Two days after the salty food incident, two eighty year old female residents were sexually assaulted by a male visitor who was not removed from the property and allowed to return the following day. Beecher Hunter stated that, “most of the residents have been relocated”. He said also they were hoping to finish the renovations in about 18 months. The nursing home will be permitted to reapply for certification in one hundred and eighty days.
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In Tennessee and all over the country, elderly loved ones are placed into nursing homes and facilities when they can no longer take care of themselves at home or when they may suffer with illnesses that leave them unable to remember most things. Some of these homes do a great job, however, some fail to provide protection that a resident needs. I recent case will no doubt warrants an investigation to determine if an unavoidable tragedy occurred or if the incident could have been prevented. This investigation should focus on whether there were prior warnings, appropriate staffing and appropriate care plans in place.

According to the news, Dorothy Reeder’s husband, Donald Reeder’s eighty-three was beaten with a cane by his eighty-nine year old roommate Orville Hayes while living at the Elmcroft at Twin Hills nursing facility. Both of residents involved in the incident suffered from Alzheimer’s. According to police, the incident had occurred in Hayes’ room and the room had been found splattered with blood with a cane found nearby. The police believe Hayes used the cane to beat Donald Reeder about the head.

Donald Reeder was too badly injured and after being treated at a hospital was later transferred to a nursing home and finally to a hospice, where he died on January 10th. Metro Police spokesman Don Aaron said,”At present, the investigation shows that Mr. Reeder was struck with what we believe to have been a cane. When he was found he said that he had been beaten.”

According to an interview with the victim’s wife, Dorothy Reeder, she had feared for her husband’s safety when he got a new roommate. She had asked Elmcroft officials to move Donald to another room but was told that no other rooms were available. She stated that her husband’s roommate had arrived about six weeks ago and that the trouble started immediately.
The police spokesman Don Aaron has stated that, “Though the investigation is still ongoing, it was unlikely that any charges will be filed.” He stated that this is because,”The case is unusual and complicated. Both the 83-year-old and the 89-year-old suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The police are however looking into Hayes’ medical condition.
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According to a recent nursing home neglect lawsuit, a fifty-six year old man who was in a wheelchair, had type I diabetes and early stage dementia who had also suffered from a stroke like condition, was eating in the dining area of the nursing home when he started choking on a golf ball size meatball. His medical condition however, made it clear that he should have not been given that size food because he had problems swallowing.

The lawsuit also states that there was only one staff member in the dining area at the time of incident and that they did not know the Heimlich maneuver. The staff member wheeled the man forty feet to a nurse’s station which made the food get stuck even deeper into the man’s throat. When a nurse tried unsuccessfully to remove the food, an” ambu bag” was used to force air into the man’s lungs. Then the staff finally called 911 twelve minutes later but the man had been deprived of oxygen for too long. He was pronounced dead later at a hospital.
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In Tennessee and all across the country, when we have to put our loved ones in the care of others, we expect that they will receive proper medical care and treatment. Unfortunately, sometimes nursing homes and other facilities are understaffed and overworked and this can lead to injury or even death of a patient or a family’s loved one. If you or someone you love has been in a nursing home or facility and then been seriously injured as a result, you should speak with a Tennessee nursing home neglect lawyer right away. They will hear your case and make sure you get the compensation you deserve for your loved one.

In this case, a man claims that a nursing assistant from the health center where his mother was staying left a cleaning brush in his mother’s tracheotomy. According to the lawsuit, Josephine Rosario, seventy-four, came into the Lopatcong Center in May of 2010 after receiving treatment for a respiratory problem associated with a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Rosario was rehabilitating at the facility before going home. Also the lawsuit claims that in January around one in the morning, a certificated nursing assistant checked on Rosario. An hour later according to records, the staff of the facility found her sitting on the side of her bed and leaning on a table, unresponsive.

The lawsuit goes on to state that a tracheotomy brush was sticking out of the tracheotomy opening in Rosario’s throat and she could not breathe. The brush was removed and the staff attempted to revive her and she was taken to the emergency room. At the hospital, it was determined that Rosario suffered bad brain damage due to a lack of oxygen and on January 28th, the family was told that this condition would most likely be permanent. Rosario was taken to another health facility, where she is staying, completely ventilated and tube-fed.
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