Nursing home abuse is a pervasively documented fact that cannot be ignored. In most settings, nursing home abuse takes place in institutions that provide medical care, and thus the violations may also be called medical malpractice. In addition to a manifest of governmental complaints that can be filed against outlaw institutions, there is a private civil action available to the victim and the families that can bring substantial recoveries, including punitive damages, against those who perpetrate nursing home abuse. Economic punishment against the companies that arrogantly ignore their promises to their elderly patients is one of the strongest tools to use in Connecticut and elsewhere to bring about lasting change.
For one who is concerned about the treatment of a family member, there are generally some typical signs of nursing home abuse. They include sudden weight loss, bruises, bed sores, the use of restraints to keep the patient from getting up or moving about, reports of falls, and staff inattention. Hopefully, the patient will be a competent reporter of these events, but if not, the family member must keep her eyes open, ask questions, and do whatever seems appropriate to investigate what is taking place.
In one example, a widow in Texas is suing the nursing home and rehabilitation center in which her husband resided at his death. The complaint alleges that the decedent was so neglected and ill-treated in the so-called rehabilitation center that he developed severe decubitus ulcers. Those ulcers, left untreated then took a massive infection to the man’s blood stream in an overpowering all-body inflammation called sepsis.
The complaint alleges that the sepsis was caused by the defendant’s negligence in caring for the plaintiff’s husband. The complaint further asserts that death occurred directly from the sepsis. The woman seeks the maximum damages allowed by law for her loss, including punitive damages for egregious and wanton violations of duty. The case now goes to a discovery phase where the plaintiff can find out how many prior instances of neglect may have occurred at the institution, along with a flood of other information pertinent to the claim. In cases of nursing home abuse, the same procedure and principles of negligence would govern the case in Connecticut.
Source: The Southeast Texas Record, Widow sues nursing home over husband’s death, Melody Dareing, March 24, 2014