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My Dad has suffered with a sever bedsore that needed surgery while at nursing home. I haven't been able to get him moved to somewhere else because of our finances.

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One thing to keep in mind is that IF any of dad's care was paid for by Medicare, AND if dad gets any financial settlement (from a lawsuit), Medicare will fully expect to be reimbursed for any payments they made for his care due to the situation within the lawsuit. This is the Medicare Secondary Payer Act and is being enforced. Dad will be suspended from Medicare if he withhold settlement funds.
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My Dad is in a nursing home. He is 92, his living condition is so bad I find him crying much of the time. I saw an elder lawyer it was $350 per hour. And an hour is a very short period of time, it took her half the time to learn some history.The GOP will not give up a dime to help anyone but oter fat cats. Our inability to care for our senior is a reflection of how we have failed as a society. America, the richest country on earth, what a joke.
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In every state there is an agency that regulates nursing homes and assisted living facilities. You need to contact your local Area Agency on Aging or Bureau of Senior Services. They will have the contact information you need to make a complaint. The goal of every home should be to prevent bed sores. Talk to his physician, you can move him to another facility: the Area Agency on Aging will have someone that can guide you to homes that will accept your father. I know it can be very frustrating to something like this to happen. If a bedsore is not avoidable, the facility has an obligation to provide aggressive treatment to help it heal.
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Did you say your brothers watched and video taped while your mom nearly choked to death?? And did they then continue to tape for the hour that she lay in it.?? Seriously?
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My dear Mother has since passed away..She was moved One time to a nursing home then to another.. Their are only 3 in our town.. right next door from each other.. if you complain then they 86 you out & no one else would take her..All I can tell you I spent lunch everyday with her& dinner..wheeled her around.Feed her etc. She was bed ridden & legally Blind.. We paid cash every month . She got no better care than the ones on medicade.Not enough hired help. They did not furnish diapers.Mom did not get good quality care their in either nursing home.. It was smelly and outoutrageous what went on in their.. but I stayed up their every day for 5 yrs..feeding her changing her and doing my best to give her somewhat of a life..you have to look out for your parent and spend time with them every day.. You won't know what is going on if your not their. One day she threw up they left her lay in it for over one hr.. my brother sit their and watched And video the whole thing. Mom could have chocked to death..the list went on & on..she was so happy to be with me everyday.They ask top dollar but will not give them the care they need.Not enough staff..Good Luck .we had to buy moms special mattress.. plus if she needed to see her specialist Dr you have to take them..I took her to Dentist..Mom lived to be 90 yrs old..she finally gave up after her 90 th birthday died two days later..only wish I could go up their now & spend time with her..
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I work with and know many Elder Law Attorney's in my state, and I happen to be married to an there is not one Elder Law Attorney that I know that would define as unethical. Elder Lawyers care about the Elderly. To become a Certified Elder Law Attorney requires a lot of training and a significant portion of your case load to be with Elderly Clients. Most unethical Attorney's are not willing to work that hard. I have found Elder Law Attorney's to be compassionate. I agree that hiring an Attorney to solve your problem is usually your best solution especially if you Dad is on Medicaid. They reality is that services that accept Medicad are few and far between in most cities. Getting support from Adult Protective Services is usally by far the best resource to speak with they know every facility and the good, the bad, and the ugly. Ignore the negative lawyer talk most elder lawyers I know are great people.
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Emotions run high for families who admit their elderly relative to a nursing home for care; guilt for not being able or willing to care for them at home, perhaps anger at unresolved issues among siblings or with parents, grief from the knowledge that the death is likely near for their loved one, and more.
It's difficult to be objective and rational about a situation when you feel someone you love has been mistreated.
However, being objective and rational is exactly the purpose of the justice system. So, when an attorney discourages you from bringing a law suit, they are usually telling you that your case does not have merit. The idea that all attorneys are "lazy" and just want quick money is ridiculous. Certainly you can find bad lawyers, just like you can find bad plumbers and bad hairdressers.
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Mudiver, so do trolls. Maybe it's time to recognize that I've "had your number" for a while. You just walked into the trap.
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Its a demented world, cold and callous, and the courts and their justers make it all the colder.
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RCW, let's put this in perspective and address your allegations logically. Define "most" lawyers - 50% 60% - 90%? And define the sampling pool - lawyers in your county, state, the US? How many lawyers were involved in your entire "study" or whatever substantiated your conclusions?

How have you made this determination? What scientific methods have you used to determine the self interest you ascribe to attorneys? What was your sample base and technique - i.e., how many lawyers, criteria for concluding that they're "out for themselves"?

Unless you have data to substantiate your allegations, your complaints have little validity. They're just opinions. Unvalidated opinions.

I don't stick up for anyone who doesn't justify it. Other than having worked in law for decades, I have no particular reason to justify legal actions. However, I think allegations of self interest can be brought against many professions. Law seems to be singled out, except when someone needs legal help.

I never implied you were stupid. But I don't respect broad-based unfounded allegations based on narrow opinions rather than any significant and valid data.


Charles, here's some insight into your situation, based only on what you've said. There are many other issues not addresed, but it sounds as if the attorney was telling you that you didn't have a case. Regardless of the damage done, there are statutes and case law governing reocovery, and for better or for worse, not all of them address equities.

You don't mention your father's other injuries, his stability, mobility, etc. What was the cause of death? What did the death certificate show? Was it a condition that pre-existed his nursing home admission and stay?

One unfortunate factor is that any damages would also be a function of your father's life and health at that time as well as the actuarial statistics addressing average lifespan. If a 20 year old died from malpractice, his family would have a better likelihood of recovery than the family of an 80 year old. That's just reality.

A $25K legal fee would get you a lot of legal advice and work, more consistent with a high profile corporate law firm defending a corporate client. This attorney was probably telling you nicely that there was no case.

I know this doesn't make your father's death any easier.
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My mother almost died at the hands of a nurse in a rehab section of a nursing home. I tried to find an attorney to sue, but I was told that in Texas you can only sue if your parent dies. Very, very disgusting.
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I filed a complaint about a rehab/nursing home here in Maryland. They left my dad fall twice. the first time was so bad he kept repeating help help me please till he died 2 weeks later.They found out they had been giving him the wrong meds and not watching him while he ate like they were supposed to. He lost 10 pounds in 2 weeks. they got a $4,000.00 fine. We got an attorney and he said it could cost up to $25,000.00 and we would probably lose because they are slick about getting around the complaints. I was so mad!
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I made a formal complaint about a nursing home here. They investigated and found out they were giving my father the wrong medications. I complained because they left him fall twice, one fall so bad all he kept repeating till he died was help me help me please. They gave the home a $4,000.00 fine. I got an attorney and they said to fight it it could cost up to $25,000.00 and we would probably lose because they are very slcik at getting around it! I was so upset!
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Garden artist, Sorry but most lawyers are out for themselves first and everything else comes after that. You well know that and you are just sticking up for them either because you make your living working for one or are one yourself. Don't think we are stupid.
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Don't forget that a bedsore can and does happen for many different reasons unrelated to the home itself. Elders have very thin skin and that is why bed sores are a big issue anywhere you are at. Sometimes they just can not be avoided but can only be delt with as needed, if a bed sore happens and nothing is done then that is a problem. Getting a bed sore is like I said sometimes unavoidable and trying to blame the home is not the right way to go.
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You do not say what state you live in but here is a website that has a listing state by state. http://www.nursinghomeabusecenter.org/resources/advocacy-groups.html these folks can help with the process of lodging a complaint as well as information on nearby facilities and reputable legal counsel in your area. He does not have to stay in that facility there are options out there for you, it is a matter of knowing where to go for answers. Good Luck
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The first thing to consider is Dad's care. If he is in a facility on Medicaid, there are not a lot of other places to go. Of course when the new facility evaluates him, they will find out there is a lawsuit. Red Flag! Nobody wants the further liability for his care, they do not want to deal with sue-happy relatives. For them, the patient is very high risk, and will be silently "blackballed".
This does nothing to help the patient.
Never mind the TV ads promising six million dollar settlements for nursing home litigation. It's a lot of hooey.
Take care of Dad. Visit once a week. Learn what to look for, and how to deal with it. Get to know the staff and be appreciative. That will do more to improve his care than any lawyer can.
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Mudiver, I really take offense at your broad strokes conclusion that most lawyers "simply are not" ethical, "are lazy beyond words, proud and arrogant."

I've worked for only a few attorneys who were unethical, and I know thare are more, especially in certain areas. But I've also worked for very honest, highly ethical and morally responsible law firms, some of which allow their attorneys to do pro bono work just because it's the right thing to do. I worked for a few who took such moral stands that their actions could have cost their firms to lose clients.

How many attorneys have you worked for, dealt with, or known personally?

They DO police themselves; read up on bar association grievance committees.

Frankly, you don't know what the hell you're talking about.
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I realize that suing is the great American pastime, but rarely is it the most efficient way to solve a problem. And you don't hire a lawyer to sue, you hire a lawyer to help you solve a problem and get a desired result.
It sounds like what you actually want is to have your father well taken care of. As others have pointed out, suing isn't the way to get there. If he is being neglected, call APS. Also contact the patient advocate and/or social worker at the SNF, if there is one, and your county office for aging. Have him moved if he is actively being neglected. I don't understand how your finances prevent you from moving him. Even if he's on Medicaid, there must be more than one SNF in your area that accepts it.
Consult with a lawyer if you like, too, if suing is his/her first suggestion, find a more ethical lawyer.
ps – What has the nursing director said about his bedsore? Bedsores sometimes happen regardless of how well cared-for a bed-bound patient is. If your dad has lots of other medical conditions that cause his skin to be even more fragile than is usual for all elderly people, I'd focus on how they've proposed treating the sore and preventing future sores.
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Have you checked with your local Ombudsman? They can look into the facility issues and make recommendations. Have you talked with other families? Are they seeing the same care problems within the facility? Your father is still there - how can you make this a better environment for him and if not, he needs to be transferred as soon as possible. Get informed about his care and the facility and what they feel they can do to resolve this. Good Luck to you.
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Focus first on your dad. Try a sheep fur pelt for him to sleep on. My grandmother had one and it seemed to prevent bedsores. Be sure it's really fur not the fake thing.
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I have been able to have two lawyers disbarred in the past two years. Of course your kids are ethical. But most simply are not, they are lazy beyond words, proud and arrogant. Sort of like politicians, but hay and they lawyers too. The day they cannot police themselves is the day badlawering will start to end.
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Palmtrees, good point about dismissal of frivolous cases. Years ago before I moved into a different field of law, court rules had been changed to allow for different handling of frivolous lawsuits, as well as assessing costs to the plaintiff bringing those suits. so instead of pursuing a claim, the plaintiff could end up paying defense attorney's costs.
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No Mudiver, money is not all some lawyers care about. A judge can throw out the case if it is frivolous. Some lawyers do work pro bono or for free. That could be an avenue for soncare4056 to check into.

It may surprise some people but there are good and ethical lawyers. We need them in our society and they often help those who need help the most. My daughter and son in law are lawyers but they work in a large corporate firm. However they both attended a school founded by Jesuits. The main concern of this school was being ethical. They are two of the most,honest people I know and live frugally with a great concern for the underprivileged.

I know a lot of lawyers who do personal injury as well, some great, some. It so great. But let's not lump all lawyers together. It is a very wide spectrum. Good luck to you and I hope you find someone that can help,you.
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From someone who's worked for plaintiff and defense medical malpractice lawfirms, these are the issues you need to consider, beyond those identified by CM.

What are the damages and physical injuries, on a short and long term basis? Are the damages permanent and irreversible? Do they affect and/or shorten quality of life?

How old is your father now and what are his medical conditions? Life expectancy is a consideration in damage calculation.

Was the treatment inconsistent with standard of care for similar injuries in your geographic area? Probably yes, but all the facts aren't known. E.g., if diabetes is involved, it complicates wound healing.

Don't forget that med mal in some states requires expert testimony. A med mal attorney would have to find a doctor to testify that there was neglect.

You're better off pursuing the complaint angle while looking for another home. You wrote that you can't do that because of finances... I don't understand that. Whoever is paying for care at this nursing home would presumably be the same person or entity to pay at any other nursing home.

Pursuing a complaint and moving him are your best options.
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Lawyers only sue where there is easy money, as when there is auto insurance and then they want it easy as possible. Nursing homes have insurance, but how do you put a value on the claim. Lawyers hate to spend time on a case, money is all they care about. If you have lots of money they will be happy to complicate things, and take all the cash you have. Lawyer seldom do much of anything but play God.
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I would focus on getting an elder attorney to first get your father transferred to a facility with a better care record. Then ask him if you can file a complaint with the state and federal agency which is paying for your father's care under Medicaid.

You can always shop for a lawyer to file suit for punitive damages but first document the injury and get him transferred.
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The ability to sue sometimes can be a daunting and drawn out process. It may not be overly effective in that many defense attorneys strategy remains forever questionable by those aware of the truth. However, getting an attorney to file without putting up money can get the attention needed to not only get compensation but also to improve care for others. Be prepared for the long haul if you do file.
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You can and should make a formal complaint if you believe that the severe bedsore resulted from neglect. You complain to the nursing home, and copy in APS. You also copy the nursing home's reply to APS. If it isn't satisfactory, you can then take your complaint further - get advice about procedures where you are.

Suing, though… what's your plan? To win enough damages in court to move him to a better facility? That is such a bad idea that I really don't know where to start. You would need to prove not only that he had a severe bedsore, and not only that he had surgery specifically for it, but that the nursing home was directly responsible for it and failed in their duty of care to him. You would have to prove that he was fine before they got their hands on him, that they had not done enough to try to prevent bedsores, and that they neglected to get him treatment promptly. Your chances of success are slim, the process would take an age, and meanwhile where is he going to live? In the home that's being sued for neglect? Think it through.

What communication have you had so far with the nursing home? What did they have to say for themselves about your Dad's condition and the surgery?
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Call adult protective services in the area of the nursing home they will investigate. If this is happening to you it is happening to others. Also search for a certified Elder Law Attorney in your area and call them. You will need to turn up the heat on the nursing home to make the better to see change if you are not able to move him.
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