A common and unfortunate side effect of aging is a declining quality of life. Much as we may try to fight it, time inevitably takes its toll on our bodies and we begin to struggle with things that used to be second nature, from walking to eating and even to breathe without assistance. Watching this happen to our loved ones can be difficult. One of the roles that nursing homes are supposed to play is to help elderly individuals who are experiencing significant medical problems as they age. Sadly though, such homes sometimes fail to live up to the level of care expected of them.
If gone unchecked, nursing home negligence can lead to serious health problems and even death for residents.
In 2008, a 90-year-old nursing home patient was found to be suffering from kidney failure, acute appendicitis, severe dehydration, and many other medical issues. Though she was treated for the injuries once they were discovered by a hospital, it was too late, and the woman ultimately died.
Recently, in a wrongful death case regarding the woman, a Massachusetts jury found the nursing home the woman was a resident of, which is now closed, to have been grossly negligent regarding the woman’s care and awarded the woman’s family $14 million, mostly for punitive damages. However, the woman’s youngest son was very clear that money does little to assuage the grief of knowing how much his mother suffered. While we hope that nobody ever has to suffer what the victim or her family endured, it is important to know that the law provides options for nursing home negligence victims and their families.
Too much care cannot be taken when it comes to finding the right nursing home for your loved ones. Still, the staff of the nursing home plays a massive part in how well the residents are cared for, and it’s impossible to be sure that every single staff member is fully committed to the job. If you worry that a loved one in a nursing home was treated with negligence or is currently being treated with negligence, strong legal counsel can help you figure out whether negligence has occurred and whether legal action is appropriate.
Source: The Boston Globe, “Jury awards $14m in 2008 death,” Kay Lazar, July 24, 2014