December 20, 2011

A nursing home stay after surgery or major medical treatment is sometimes necessary for the patient to receive inpatient rehabilitation services such as physical therapy and/or occupational therapy before the patient is well enough to return home (many nursing homes also provide long-term care for those who may never be able to return to independent living or be able to reside in an assisted-living facility due to medical conditions or mental status, such as severe dementia).

Unfortunately, nursing home care can sometimes fall below the standard of care required of nursing homes by federal and state regulations. Many nursing homes are for-profit corporations that may seek to cut corners and spend less for necessary patient care because a penny saved in patient care expenses is a penny earned as profit for the nursing home’s parent corporation. Because nursing home residents are among the most vulnerable due to their medical condition and/or mental state, they may not be able or willing to complain about the lack of proper medical care and attention that they are receiving (this is especially true if the nursing home resident does not have family members or close friends who visit often enough to act as the nursing home resident’s advocate when care is lacking, or worse). Hence, the nursing home malpractice claims that are formally filed probably represent just a small portion of the medical negligence that occurs in the nursing home environment.

Medical malpractice injuries or death due to medical malpractice events involving nursing home care are some of the most egregious medical malpractice cases because the medical neglect is too often long-term and severe. Medical malpractice claims involving nursing home care often involve claims of improper or fraudulent medical record entries or the failure to document medical treatment ordered by the patients’ doctors.

Sometimes a patient is discharged from the hospital to a nursing home that is unable or otherwise fails to provide the necessary medical care despite assurances from the nursing home that it can and will provide the necessary care. This may have been the situation in a medical malpractice case involving a nursing home in Cook County, Illinois, when a 57-year-old woman was discharged from a local hospital to the nursing home following successful throat cancer treatment for an anticipated stay of two weeks for further medical care before returning home.

The nursing home needed to provide appropriate cleaning and suctioning of the woman’s breathing tube, which is care that the nursing home promised to provide. However, it was alleged that the nursing home failed to provide sufficient or properly trained staff and also failed to provide proper medication and necessary equipment for the woman’s care, which led to her death from suffocation. The medical malpractice case brought on behalf of her estate was tried before a Cook County jury during which testimony was heard over the course of three days (the nursing home admitted that it was liable for the woman’s death but challenged the amount that her estate should be awarded in damages), after which the jury awarded $2.9 million in damages against the negligent nursing home.


If you or a loved one were injured (or worse) as a result of a nursing home’s failure to provide proper and timely medical care, you or your loved one may be entitled to compensation. Click here to visit our website  to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers in your area who may be able to investigate your medical malpractice claim against the nursing home and bring a medical malpractice case against the nursing home on your behalf, if appropriate. Or you may call us toll free at 800-295-3959 to be connected with medical malpractice attorneys in your state.

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