March 2012 Archives

More nursing homes have implemented electronic medical record systems and this trend will certainly continue as the cost decreases, technology improves and financial incentives in the form of higher reimbursement rates for treating Medicare patients are offered. 

Lawyers handling nursing home negligence cases must be sure to update their form discovery requests to make sure that certain types are electronic/computerized records are specifically requested or they risk exclusion of potentially helpful evidence of negligence. 

For instance, in litigating bedsore cases (also known as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers), we have encountered situations with nursing homes that utilize a computer/kiosk record keeping system requiring the nursing home geriatric nursing assistants who provide care (including turning and repositioning) to the patient to make an entry in a computer kiosk each and every time the patient is turned and repositioned.  In the event that such records do not document that the patient was turned and repositioned every two hours, this can be powerful evidence of negligence. 

Unfortunately, these electronic records may not always physically make their way into a patient's chart.  It is possible that nursing homes and their lawyers may try to read Plaintiffs' discovery requests narrowly to support a decision not to produce these records if they are not specifically requested. 

Our firm therefore includes the following Request in Plaintiffs' Request for Production of Documents in bedsore/pressure sore/decubitus ulcer nursing home negligence cases:

A complete copy of all of Defendant's files regarding Plaintiff including but not limited to medical records, nursing home admission records, computer records, electronic records, kiosk records, log records or other documents containing written or computer entries regarding Plaintiff made by geriatric nursing assistants, certified nursing assistants or other nursing assistants that were/are maintained separately from Plaintiff's medical records at [insert name of nursing home].

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Please feel free to contact the nursing home neglect attorneys at Dever & Feldstein, LLC at (888) 825-9119 for a free consultation if you believe that a family member or loved one has sustained serious injury or wrongful death as a result of bed sores (also known as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers), nursing home falls, dehydration/malnutrition, medication administration error/prescription mistake, elder abuse or elder neglect.

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Nursing homes may attempt to include arbitration agreements among the stack of paperwork that they have patients or their families sign at the time of admission to the facility.  These arbitration agreements attempt to prevent jury trials in the event of subsequent lawsuits alleging injuries or death resulting from nursing home negligence. Instead, such disputes would be decided by arbitrators who are often chosen by the nursing home and subject to rules and procedures dictated by the nursing home.

Many people have no idea what they are signing at this very stressful time in their lives when they are focused on ensuring that their family member or loved one receives all necessary medical care.  As a result, family members may sign these arbitration agreements that have been carefully drafted by the nursing home's lawyers without even reading the documents and/or giving any thought whatsoever as to later ramifications. 

On or about May 12, 2011, Senators Al Franken (Democrat-Minnesota), Richard Blumenthal (Democrat-Connecticut) and Representative Henry Johnson (Democrat-Georgia) introduced identical bills in the United States Senate and House of Representatives known as the "Arbitration Fairness Act of 2011" that, if enacted, would (among other things) ban forced arbitration clauses in nursing home admission contracts.  The legislative process of this bill is still in the relatively early stages but given the present congressional make-up passage seems unlikely at least until the 2012 election cycle ends. 

Executed nursing home arbitration agreements typically are not even a precondition to the patient receiving treatment or services.  Hopefully, these forced arbitration clauses will be eliminated by Congress at some point in the future so that nursing home consumers and their surviving family members cannot be denied their day in Court.  
In the meantime, however, families should be careful not to sign such arbitration agreements even though these clauses may be hidden in fine print and difficult to understand. 

Please feel free to contact the nursing home neglect attorneys at Dever & Feldstein, LLC at (888) 825-9119 for a free consultation if you believe that a family member or loved one has sustained serious injury or wrongful death as a result of nursing home neglect including bedsores (also known as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers), nursing home falls, dehydration/malnutrition or medication error/prescription mistakes.

 

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Elderly nursing home patients may be at risk for developing bedsores (also known as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers).  Decubitus ulcers are bed sores caused by unrelieved pressure on the skin from lying or sitting in the same position too long and are associated with pain and can be deadly.   As these bedsores deteriorate and progress to stage 3 (appear as a deep crater) and to stage 4 (involve full-thickness skin loss exposing bone or muscle), they become gruesome images for family members and loved ones to view.   

In nursing home neglect/wrongful death cases involving pressure ulcers, however, graphic photographs of these wounds are powerful evidence, and nursing home defendants and their lawyers will factor such photographs into their evaluation of claims.  If a family member or loved one has developed wounds/pressure sores/decubitus ulcers, it is therefore advisable to take photographs of the condition and to be able to state the dates of the photographs.

As the saying goes, a picture really is worth a thousand words.

Please feel free to contact the nursing home neglect attorneys at Dever & Feldstein, LLC at (888) 825-9119 for a free consultation if you believe that a family member or loved one has sustained serious injury or wrongful death as a result of bed sores/pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers.

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This page is an archive of entries from March 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

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