Comatose Patient’s Pregnancy Puts Spotlight on Nursing Home Abuse

January 17, 2019

Shocking headlines from Phoenix, Arizona have gained national attention by showing how serious and appalling nursing home abuse can be.

At Hacienda Healthcare in Phoenix, a female patient in a vegetative state gave birth last month.  The patient, whose name has respectfully been withheld, has been in her comatose condition for an extended period and at no point possessed the capacity to consent to sexual contact.

Phoenix Police investigating this sexual assault have zeroed in on the nursing home’s male staff and, hopefully, the culprit will be brought to justice.  However, following Hacienda Healthcare CEO’s resignation, questions remain regarding how long and how prevalent this type of abuse may have been at the facility.

Nursing Home Abuse in Ohio

For many families, this story has raised deeply personal questions about their own loved ones.  If nursing home negligence can happen in Arizona, it can happen elsewhere, too.  Including Ohio.

Unfortunately, abuse in nursing homes occurs frequently in Ohio.  Lowe Scott Fisher Co., LPA’s lawyers have spent years representing countless patients and families affected by nursing home negligence.  The conditions and errors that make abuse possible are, regrettably, more prevalent now than ever.

What is Nursing Home Abuse?

While the Phoenix case highlights just how abhorrent abuse in nursing homes can be, it can occur in a variety of ways and at varying degrees of severity.  Make no mistake, though: no type or degree of abuse is ever acceptable.  If you suspect any abuse has occurred, you need to speak to attorney right away.

Broadly speaking, nursing home abuse is any intentional conduct by nursing home administrators or staff that causes injury to residents or patients.  This includes intentional acts and may also include certain neglectful or negligent acts performed intentionally.

Some examples of possible nursing home abuse include:

  • Physical and/or sexual assault by a nursing home employee
  • Theft or financial abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Malnutrition
  • Pressure sores (bed sores)
  • Certain falls
  • Injuries caused by understaffing

While some attempt to limit the definition of abuse, Lowe Scott Fisher attorneys take a more realistic approach to protecting your loved ones.  When greedy, profit-driven policies lead to understaffing and injuries occur to patients, that is abuse.  When administrators hire too few nurses to perform necessary monitoring and injuries occur, that too is abuse.

Now more than ever, abuse in nursing homes occurs not merely because of inappropriate actions of the staff (though, of course, that does still occur and is unacceptable).  Much of today’s nursing home negligence and abuse occurs because of a profits-before-patients approach to nursing home care perpetuated by owners and administrators.

Lowe Scott Fisher’s lawyers pursue all parties responsible when patients and residents suffer from abuse.  This means not only taking action against the individual staff or professional, but also the corporation who created or fostered the conditions for abuse.

What You Can Do When Nursing Home Abuse Happens

For families of patients and residents, knowing when to act and what action to take following suspected abuse can be hard.  There are a few rights to remember, though, that can help.

The Right to Leave

You or your loved one have the right to leave the facility.  This is perhaps the most important right available, particularly if you know or suspect that the abuse is ongoing.  The patient has the right to be safe, and if there is any question about future safety then know that you or your family member are not bound to remain at the offending facility.

The Right to Report

You or your loved one have the right to report incidents of abuse and neglect to the Department of Health.  State and federal authorities investigate and provide data on safety, neglect, and abuse at nursing home facilities.  Contacting the authorities can be a valuable first step in dealing with nursing home abuse.

The Right to Consult an Attorney

If you even suspect that nursing home abuse has occurred, know that you have the right to consult an attorney about what steps you should take to protect your or your loved one’s safety and legal rights.  While nursing home staff will often attempt to cover up the circumstances surrounding abuse or injury, an experienced attorney can dig into your potential claim and discover what is really going on.

And remember: Lowe Scott Fisher Co., LPA’s attorneys offer free consultation to patients and families concerned about nursing home abuse.  If you suspect abuse may have occurred, call Lowe Scott Fisher and let our team help you determine your next steps.

Lawsuits are the Last Line of Defense Against Abusive Facilities

Despite all the laws and regulations, nursing home abuse continues to happen on a daily basis.  This is why patients continue to rely on lawyers lawyers like Lowe Scott Fisher Co., LPA to protect their rights.

Nursing home patients and residents deserve reasonable care and safe living conditions.  We as a society place our trust in nursing home facilities to provide these things to our loved ones.  When that trust is broken, those responsible should be held accountable for the injuries they cause.

Lowe Scott Fisher Co., LPA’s legal team can help you and your family hold dangerous and negligent nursing homes accountable.  If you suspect abuse or negligence has occurred, we are here to help.  Call or email today to schedule your free consultation.

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