In my role as a Massachusetts nursing home abuse lawyer, I see many, many examples of negligence, including in the healthcare field. When I do, I just shake my head, because I sometimes cannot understand what goes on the minds of the people who work in nursing homes. All too often, I can only stand back and say to myself, “What were they thinking?”
All too frequently, nursing home residents – who are elderly, sick, and usually not ambulatory – are left alone, when the entire purpose of putting them in a nursing home in the first place is to protect them and safeguard them from any harm. Leaving them alone to fend for themselves simply defeats the entire purpose of putting them into the nursing home.
A recent case for Massachusetts nursing home abuse illustrates a situation of numerous, terrible errors that resulted in the unfortunate death of an elderly woman who should have never have been left alone. Here’s what reportedly happened, and it is a tragedy.
First, the elderly female patient involved was served steak fries – when she was supposed to only be served a diet of soft foods. Then she was left alone to eat her fries and began to choke. Two very obvious mistakes right there.
The third mistake? A nursing aide who was saw the nursing home resident in distress did not perform the Heimlich maneuver immediately, to counteract the choking because the aide was supposedly concerned about a recent back injury that the aide had experienced and did not want to aggravate that claimed injury. She did not administer first aid, but instead, went to review the patient’s chart, to see if she had a Do Not Resuscitate order. Mistake number four? The staff then attempted to use a suction machine, and the machine was inoperable.
Fifth mistake: Whether you can believe it or not, there was a defibrillator outside the patient’s room, but the entire staff said that they did not know where this defibrillator was stored.
The plaintiff, who represented the deceased woman’s estate in this Massachusetts wrongful death case, argued that the victim died because the nursing home was more concerned with increased profits instead of the quality of care and safety of its residents. The case settled for $1.25 Million – but that won’t bring this woman back to her family. Yet it is what plaintiffs’ trial lawyers do to hold negligent nursing homes accountable. These cases make it less likely that your loved one — or maybe one day you yourself – will become the victim of nursing home neglect or abuse.
If you have an elderly loved one in a nursing home, who you suspect is being victimized by negligence or abuse, you need to speak to a nursing home neglect attorney immediately.