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For anyone who reads this blog, it’s no secret that I’m passionate about protecting the rights of elders and sick, disabled people in Massachusetts nursing homes and extended care facilities.  Today’s post is Part Three of three recent posts I’ve dedicated to this subject, and it will outline the typical warning signs of nursing home patient neglect or abuse to look for. Continue reading

In my immediately previous post, I wrote of the steps that family members must take on their own, to assure that their loved one in a Massachusetts nursing home or extended care nursing facility is well cared for.  If you haven’t read that post yet, I’d suggest that you take a look at it.  Family members cannot rely on state regulators to asusre their loved one’s proper care – and it is far more important to prevent nursing home neglect or abuse, than to deal with it after it has been discovered.

In today’s follow-up post (sorry, I meant to post this last week, but have been preoccupied with a very busy trial) I’m going to address the common warning signs of nursing home patient neglect or abuse. Continue reading

In a previous post, I wrote of state & federal government agencies that family members can report suspected cases of Massachusetts nursing home neglect or abuse to.  While you can & should copy the contact information for several agencies that are outlined in that previous post, I don’t want readers to get a false sense of security about the existence of these agencies.  The sad and disturbing reality is that the families and loved ones of nursing home residents must be their own ‘first-line watchdogs,’ and serve as the primary point of monitoring the care of their loved one who is living in a nursing home.  Government agencies, whether state or federal, are simply too-thinly staffed, too over-worked, and in some instances, simply too inattentive, or incompetent, to protect Massachusetts nursing home residents from abuse & neglect.  It’s just one of the sad-but-true realities of the nursing home industry.

In today’s post, I want to offer some suggestions as to what family members can do to minimize the chances that their loved one will become the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect. Continue reading

Readers of this blog know how many times I’ve written previously in this blog about the atrocious conditions that many Massachusetts nursing home residents live in every day.  It’s sickening, it’s cruel, it’s a stain on our society, and it’s a moral outrage.  Yet it goes on, and on, seemingly unstopped.

Why?  The answer lies in a collision of factors, but at the heart of the problem lies nearly one constant:  Corporate greed and the never ending quest for profits at the expense of human dignity, exhibited in this industry by hiring incompetent and/or inadequate staff; cutting costs to bone, and reducing quality of care for the most vulnerable of patient populations.  Yes, other factors do come into play also, not the least of which is the often abysmal ‘oversight’ by state and federal regulators charged with making sure that nursing homes and nursing facilities adhere to state and federal laws mandating quality patient care standards.  Another major factor:  The nursing home industry’s very conscious awareness that the regulators and inspectors charged with policing them, such as those employed at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health – Health Care/Nursing Homes Licensure Division – are woefully understaffed and lax in their “enforcement” of  regulations that apply to them.  Many, many Massachusetts nursing homes know full well that the Massachusetts DPH is a “paper tiger” – that the odds that any state or federal authority figures will “find them out,” or discover their lax care of patients – are extremely low.  Understaffing at the DPH, state budget cuts, over-worked inspectors and staffers – all these factors coalesce to create the perfect environment, or “perfect storm,” for many Massachusetts nursing homes to flout laws, rules, regulations, and basic morality in how they run their facilities. Continue reading

There was a disturbing item in today’s news, about an assault and battery that occurred at a Brighton bar recently.  It illustrates an important legal reality surrounding the liability of bars, taverns and restaurants, for injuries that patrons can suffer when attacked at such an establishment.

Before I discuss the legal issues here, some background on this incident:  The Boston Globe and other media have reported that on January 24 2016 at about 1:00 AM, about 20 men viciously attacked another man (yes, one man,) inside the Green Briar Pub on Washington Street, in Brighton.  According to police reports, the assailants used glass bottles, fists and even chairs in the attack.  It will come as no surprise that the victim was extremely seriously injured – and that’s just discussing his physical injuries. Psychologically, the trauma from such an event can last a lifetime.  Just try to imagine being the victim of such a savage, barbaric attack. Continue reading

Anyone who reads my blog here knows how strongly I feel about the special care and dignity that is owed to Massachusetts nursing home residents.  Readers also know of my distrust of the nursing home industry in general, though I do allow for exceptions, as there are some good nursing home providers out there.

The problem is that the good ones – those that care for their patients diligently  and compassionately – ethically and morally – are far too few.  More and more these days, impersonal, out-of-state corporations are coming into Massachusetts to buy up nursing homes operated by smaller businesses.  What takes their place can be horrific:  Uncaring, unethical, downright shady operators whose primary goal is singular:  Cut costs  – and patient care – to the bone, in the name of maximizing corporate profits.  “Exhibit A” on that point, has recently been Synergy Healthcare Services, which I’ve written about previously on this blog.   This New Jersey-based business has purchased or acquired 11 Massachusetts nursing homes in just a year or so – and in the process has racked up stunning level of grievous complaints about patient care. Continue reading

Most of us see construction sites, and the cranes that tower over them, as an average, everyday thing.  And they are, especially in cities.  Most people see them as a sign of strong economic activity; investments in jobs and growth.  Indeed, most of them are.

We walk by them every day, without thinking much of the dangers that lurk inside those construction sites.  Many think that the risks exist just to the construction workers themselves, inside the site.  That isn’t true, and this reality was made clear again yesterday, with the Feb. 5 construction crane collapse in New York City, which killed one person and seriously injured two others. Continue reading

In my previous post on this subject, I wrote of how The Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team recently ran a Spotlight Investigation into the practice of surgeons conducting “simultaneous surgeries: at the esteemed Massachusetts General Hospital.  This practice involves a surgeon or surgeons ‘shuttling’ back and forth between separate operating rooms, operating on separate patients, for with entirely separate O.R. teams.  Sound crazy?  Well, MGH officials claim that it’s s ‘sound’ and ‘safe practice, which saves time and money, without elevating the risk of harm to their patients.

Don’t tell that to a patient by the name of Tony Meng.  As the Globe’s Spotlight Team recently reported, Mr. Meng was examined at MGH for neck pain, combined with tingling in his arms and fingers. An MRI revealed a condition that was creating compression of his spinal cord. Continue reading

I’ve written in this blog extensively on the subject of medical negligence.  Some people have a hard time believing that medical negligence (medical malpractice) is really all that prevalent.  But it is – far more than the average person knows.    Approximtely 400,00- people die of medical negligence every year in the united States.  That fact comes from recently published study in the Journal of Patient Safety and was conducted to update decades-old data that consistently stated that fewer than 100,000 Americans die each year due to medical errors.  While doctors, hospitals and medical professionals have always quoted that figure, there was just one, huge problem with it:  It was based on data over 30 years old – from 1984.  The present-day reality:  Over 400,000, each year.

While frightening, this fact doesn’t make doctors or nurses “evil” – it makes them human.  But these errors DO occur, and they DO cause the victims of these medical errors terrible consequences.  As a Boston medical negligence lawyer, I’ve seen these realities first-hand, and I know the damage and heartache they can cause.  The the laws of Massachusetts provide redress against these events, and I’m proud to represent the families and individuals that I do, who have suffered the consequences of medical malpractice. Continue reading

With the last day of the year upon us, almost everyone and his brother is going out to celebrate New Year’s Eve tonight, and party the night away. If you’re planning on being in a car tonight, I’d think twice about that.

By the numbers, New Year’s Eve is one of the most dangerous nights of the year for drivers to be on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, December 31st and January 1st have the highest rate of motor vehicle accidents in the entire year. Massachusetts is no exception. The obvious reason? Alcohol. And this is despite the fact that just about every Police Department in Massachusetts, as well as across the country, routinely warns of police roadblocks and checkpoints across the state. In addition, anti-alcohol and safe driving groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving, heavily promote messages against drinking and driving, especially during the holidays. Continue reading

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