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Queens Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit

Early in 2016, the New York Department of Health spoke openly about the many problems with the state’s nursing care facilities. The main focus of that discussion was the inability or unwillingness of the state to fine nursing homes who had been found guilty of neglect or elder abuse. Between the years of 2012 and 2015, over 85% of claims that were investigated resulted in no fines or other penalties.

All fines that are paid by nursing homes in New York, usually for health and safety regulations that were not met, are redirected into a fund that is used to improve long term care facilities across the state. For nursing homes in places like Queens, the added funding helps reduce the instances of neglect and abuse by allowing them to pay for more, and more qualified, staff.

West Lawrence Care Center

In 2015, a resident at Queens nursing home West Lawrence Care Center was allegedly assaulted by a care worker. During a routine repositioning and bedding change, the patient claims that the worker began to physically abuse her, leaving large bruises on her face and body.

The woman who was allegedly abused was 80 years old at the time of the assault, and suffered from a bone marrow disease and osteoporosis. Both of which made her weak and unable to defend herself. The accused care worker was charged with assault and two felonies for elder abuse, and the trial is ongoing.

Mandatory Reporting

In Queens, all suspected cases of elder abuse are required to be reported by any professional who works in a medical care facility or assisted living facility. Once a claim has been made, the facility has 24 hours to investigate and determine if there is reason to call higher authorities.

If there is evidence of abuse or neglect, the New York Department of Health is contacted, and begins its own investigation. If a patient or family member doesn’t believe that the facility thoroughly investigated a claim, they may call the Department of Health on their own, and make a formal request for an investigation.

Another route for patients and family members who have experienced or witnessed elder abuse in Queens is to contact an attorney. A personal injury attorney can investigate abuse, and work with local authorities to provide a more satisfactory look at the incident.

Types of Abuse

While the laws of the state of New York protect elders from physical, emotional, sexual, and financial abuse, as well as neglect and exploitation, there are a few other things that family members, patients, and third parties can watch for.

These things include negligent supervision, which can lead to residents abusing each other, a frequent complaint in and around the Queens area. Negligent security can lead to confused elderly patients wandering off. Medication errors, or a failure to prevent cross-contamination when cutting or crushing pills, is another complaint that can lead to severe medical symptoms. Finally, Queens facilities that don’t have the proper disaster planning in place can lead to a lawsuit if an elderly patient is harmed in the event of an emergency and the lack of planning directly caused their harm.

Other types or symptoms of elder abuse to watch for include mysterious injuries that don’t seem to be from falls, bedsores, sudden infections, signs of sexual or mental abuse, malnutrition, or elderly patients who go missing for lengths of time.

The laws in New York for elder care state that any of these types of abuse are criminal offenses that could result in fines or jail time, depending on the severity of the crime.

 

Sources:

 

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/queens-nursing-aide-punched-80-year-old-patient-sources-article-1.2171092

 

http://www.lohud.com/story/news/politics/politics-on-the-hudson/2016/02/22/nursing-homes-struggle-care-patients-audit-says/80767420/

 

http://nynursinghomeabuselaw.com/

 

 

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