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Category: nursing home injuries

Medical Standard of Care

When patients suffer further injury in a hospital or medical facility setting the typical response is to assume medical malpractice. However, there are specific circumstances that constitute medical malpractice, and further injury alone is not necessarily enough to warrant a personal injury medical malpractice claim.

Two specific factors must be established in any medical malpractice case (assuming, of course, that the patient can establish that they were, in fact, under the care and treatment of the medical professionals they attribute fault in their medical malpractice claim). The claimant must demonstrate that: (1) the medical standard of care required for the given circumstances surrounding their treatment (and therefore subsequent injury) was not achieved; and (2) they were in fact injured as a result of said treatment (or lack thereof).

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Reporting Nursing Home and Elder Abuse

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When families agree to put a loved one into the care of a nursing home, they have to employ a great measure of trust. But, as we know, abuse and/or neglect can become a problem in such institutions. In 2000, the National Center on Elder Abuse conducted a study that found that 44% of the nursing home residents surveyed had said that they had been abused in the past 12 months and that 95% of the respondents had witnessed instances of neglect during the same time period. Studies have also shown that few of these instances are ever reported.

Injuries in nursing homes can comprise a wide variety of situations and circumstances and abuse can take many forms, including physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and financial exploitation. These and other forms of abuse nursing home patients may encounter generally fall into the category of a failure to provide for a resident’s needs when it comes to food, shelter, clothing, hygiene or health care.

One of the key elements of reporting nursing home or elder abuse is knowing the warning signs.

If anyone suspects or becomes aware of elder abuse that is immediately life threatening, they should, of course, contact emergency personnel by calling 9-1-1.  If the danger is not immediate, calling local law enforcement and/or state’s attorney’s office to report the abuse is imperative.

Other resources are also important for anyone who suspects elder or nursing home abuse. Adult Protective Services (APS) typically is the first agency that responds to reports of elder abuse. The agency typically investigates abuse reports and offers responsive services. APS also may be a great resources to find further resources available to anyone with a loved one suffering elder or nursing home abuse.

The National Council on Child Abuse and Family Violence has developed a list of elder abuse reporting hotlines for each state. Their website (nccafv.org) is a great resource for additional advisory and intervention agencies. You may also call the Eldercare Locator (eldercare.gov), a service of the U.S. Administration on Aging, for more information as well.

After reporting the abuse to appropriate authorities and initiating intervention on behalf of your loved one, it is important to speak with a practiced personal injury attorney with experience in elder and nursing home abuse. The attorneys of Panio Law Offices have a wealth of experience fighting for victims of nursing home abuse. From a thorough investigation to collection of documentation of the conditions to the development of witness testimony that supports your case, we work extremely hard to recover the damages for your loved one and support the recovery process to a healthy and normal life.

Please call Panio Law Offices at 800.799.7561 if you have any questions about reporting nursing home abuse or filing a personal injury claim in an elder abuse case. We can help.

Nursing Malpractice

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Just like physicians, nurses have a legal responsibility to maintain standards of quality in patient care. As such, states recognize when a nurse's failure to live up to those responsibilities and patient harm results. We lay out several instances where Illinois recognize nurse malpractice and allow for recovery of damages. 

Failure to monitor 

It's commonplace in a hospital setting that nurses monitor and even assess the patient before a doctor makes his or her own evaluation. If a nurse fails in his or her duty to monitor their patient and the patient suffers harm as a result, the patient may indeed be able to file a medical malpractice claim.  Some examples of this include a failure to address a change in vital signs, a failure to take appropriate corrective action when a patient is in distress, and the failure to notify a physician when necessary.

 

Procedural Errors

With the wide array of medical procedures nurses perform (i.e., inserting catheters, drawing blood and starting IVs), nurses are held accountable for errors made when carrying out their duties. Not all errors are considered medical malpractice. However, as with physician malpractice, where doctors must act in ways that a reasonable physician would under the same circumstances, nurses must also behave in a way a reasonable nurse would also in circumstances similar. Typically what is reasonable is attested to by a medical expert. But remember, not only must the nurse be in error, those errors must be responsible for a patient's injuries.

 

Medication Errors

It is also rather commonplace for nurses to administer medication to patients. If the wrong medication or dosage is given, serious medical injuries or even death can result. Furthermore, if a patient is given a medication that poses a danger in light of a known or documented allergy, serious consequences can occur. Some medication error injuries can be long-term and some can be life threatening.  Additionally, if an administration of a medication has caused injury, an experienced personal injury attorney will investigate the medication itself. Improper instructions provided by the manufacture or a defect in the medication itself may yield product liability damages against the manufacturer.

Documentation Errors

Nurses are often responsible for accurately documenting a patient's condition as well as symptoms and treatment. This documentation is critical to appropriate and reasonable care. When a nurse improperly records details of a patient's care and condition and that causes harm to the patient (i.e. over-dosage due to inaccurate documentation of medication administration), the patient may be able to recover medical malpractice damages.

The critical issues raised in these examples often lead to complex personal injury cases. It takes an experienced personal injury attorney to navigate the documenting of evidence in the case, obtaining expert testimony and identifying the responsible party(s) (whether that is the hospital and/or the physician. If you have questions about a possible nursing malpractice case and would like to speak with an attorney, call Panio Law Offices at 800.799.7561. We have a wealth of experience recovering large awards for our clients. We can help you.

Know the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

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Today, more than ever, nursing home abuse has become a prevalent concern for individuals in the US with the numbers of elderly in the US population on the rise. Because of the aging Baby Boomer generation and the increase in life expectancy today, more and more of our population are elderly. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that more than 1.5 million people currently reside in nursing homes in the US.

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Defective Products: Pharmaceutical Drugs

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Defective products, or product liability claims, often take on a myriad of circumstances and products and, as such, give way to complex legal ramifications when certain circumstances apply. When an individual is harmed by a pharmaceutical drug, for instance, there are a number of legal considerations at hand and liability when a consumer is harmed by its use is rarely a simple question to answer. Pharmaceutical drugs, by nature, offer the potential for injury and like power tools or electrical appliances, their very use may be considered dangerous. But because of the nature of their distribution, liability can spiral in a variety of directions.

We've discussed the basic questions of liability in a simple defective products case, but when bringing a defective products claim resulting from use of a pharmaceutical drug, further considerations must be made.

There are three types of pharmaceutical drug liability claims: liability based on defects in manufacturing of the drugs; liability based on dangerous side effects of the drug (even when the drug is properly manufactured); and liability based on improper or inaccurate warnings applied to the drug in question.

As you can see from our post on considerations in more general defective product cases, (review the original post linked here), these distinctions mirror categories of standard products liability cases.

Defect in Manufacturing: A defect in the manufacturing process of the sale of a pharmaceutical drug might occur at the manufacturing facility or it may originate at the pharmacy where it was dispensed. Whatever the origin, these type of claims must prove that a mistake occurred from the point of manufacture to the point of receipt by the consumer.

Pharmaceutical Drugs with Dangerous Side Effects: Claims based on injury due to pharmaceutical drugs with dangerous side effects often occur when it is discovered that a previously released drug causes injury previously unknown. It may take years on the market before it becomes known that the drug increases risk for stroke, for instance.

Improper or Inaccurate Warning: Claims based on improper marketing of the product simply involve cases where appropriate or accurate warning of side effects for a given pharmaceutical drug were not given or improper instructions were provided in the dispensing of the drug in question. Demonstrating this point of liability may be the simplest of the three categories, yet identifying the at-fault party may still pose difficulty. Doctors, pharmacists, nurses and any other medical providers may give verbal instruction or warning in the dispensing of a drug, for instance. Proving that liability after the fact may be quite problematic.

The complexity in these cases is one reason anyone harmed by use of a pharmaceutical drug should consult an experienced products liability personal injury lawyer.

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