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Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer | Panio Law Offices

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.

Nursing Malpractice

Most of the time, when people think of malpractice cases, they think of physicians or hospitals as being the responsible party. And it's true that typically a doctor or hospital will be held responsible for damages in malpractice cases, but nurses can actually cause the harm or injury that leads to malpractice.

Nurses are a doctor's or hospital's front line for patient care. It is a nurse's responsibility to monitor a patient's condition and it's typically a nurse that notices first when something goes wrong with patients under their care. Nurses also administer drugs to patients and operate medical equipment in the administering of patient care.

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