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NURSING HOME ABUSE
The health care of our elderly, particularly our parents, is an issue of growing concern. Advances in medicine continue to prolong life. About 1.6 million US citizens are functionally dependent and living in nursing facilities. That figure is expected to climb to 5 million in thirty years.
One report estimates that 250,000 people currently die each year in the US because of mistakes made by medical professionals. According to Dr. Donald Berwick of the Institute of Medicine, these figures are an “underestimate”. The Committee Chairman who wrote the Institute of Medicine’s Report had this to say:
These stunningly high rates of medical errors – resulting in deaths, permanent disability and unnecessary suffering – are simply unacceptable in a medical system that promises first to “do no harm.” William Richardson, Chief Executive Officer of the WK Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Michigan.
More people die from adverse events caused by their medical providers in the health care setting than from motor vehicle accidents and AIDS, according to the Institute of Medicine Report. Other studies have concluded that 4-9% of hospitalized patients suffer serious or fatal complications caused by their therapy or treatment.
The injuries or complications caused by medical error are increased in the elderly population, who are often vulnerable due to illness and have long lengths of stay. Congress found that between January 1999 and January 2001 more than thirty percent of nursing homes in the United States – 5,283 nursing homes – were cited for an abuse violation that had the potential to create harm.
This Firm is experienced in handling nursing home negligence cases and other cases involving allegations of medical malpractice. In these highly specialized cases, families often find that retaining a lawyer is their only recourse for honest answers and action following the death of a loved one.
One reason that families must often investigate through their own counsel to accurately determine how an injury occurred is that government oversight of nursing homes is unreliable. A guide published by the federal government reportedly misleads the public because it fails to consider tens of thousands of safety violations, according to a Congressional Report. Another reason that families must rely on their own investigations is that facilities do not always honestly report abuse or negligence to authorities or families.
Our elderly have a right to expect that the health care system will keep up with life-prolonging medical advances by ensuring dignity and quality of life in later years. This is the promise we make to our parents and all of our elderly: that we will honor their right to spend their last years in peace and dignity with a standard of medical care and treatment that is reasonable.
Unfortunately, our health care delivery system is not honoring this promise to all of our elderly. If you have a general interest in elderly care, it is our hope that this web site will be a source of education and encouragement. If you are concerned about the health and safety of a parent or another family member who has received care in a nursing home or assisted living facility, we encourage you to contact us.