My Mom was admitted to a nursing home for two weeks, she fell hitting her head causing her brain to bleed and she died. Can they be sued?

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Mom had dementia and we needed 24 hour help with her care so her doctor told us to put her in a nursing home. We looked all over and most all of them were full, we did find a nice one however.

We admitted her and she was there two weeks and fell in her room at 11:45pm. I was not informed until 6:30 the next morning. The male nurse told me that he heard a noise and went to her room and she had fallen make a very large bruise on her forehead and shoulder and her ribs were hurting. He asked how she fell and she said she did not know and her glasses were laying on the floor.

He said he called her in house doctor who told him to hold ice on it and keep an eye on her. Another nurse and the Director of Nursing kept calling me and telling me that Mom was fine, no problems and kept saying there is no need for you to come her to the home she is absolutely fine.

I then got a call from them that they were sending her to a hospital 3 miles from the home because they had checked her INR since she takes Coumadin and it was way too high at 5.2 when it should be between 2 and 3. I asked are you sure this has nothing to do with her fall and the hematoma on her forehead. I was assured over and over that it had nothing to do with the fall. The nursing home x-rayed her head and chest and she was fine no injuries and nothing with her chest, no pneumonia, nothing.

Stories began changing and the male nurse said he had given her, her walker this morning and Mom walked down to the dining room and eaten breakfast and he walked her back to her room to relax. A female nurse called and said She had walked my mother to the dining room for breakfast only she said she used a wheelchair and that my mother had eaten well.

The male nurse said she fell at 11:45pm, the Nursing Director said she was called about the fall at 10pm, the Doctor said her was called between 1 and 2 am. There were other discrepancies as well.

The bottom line was that my mother fell and injured herself and the Nursing Home did not seek medical help for her for over 16+ hours.

When she arrived at the hospital in an ambulance, my two sisters and i met her. She was totally non responsive and could not open her eyes, her arms and hands were rigid and curled inward on her chest and she was lying in a fetal position. All she could do was moan in pain. The ER doctor asked how she was normally or was this normal for her....we said NO THIS IS NOT NORMAL, SHE WALKS AND TALKS AND OPENS HER EYES....THIS IS ABSOLUTELY NOT OUR MOTHER.

She had a CT Scan which showed bleeding in 3 areas of her brain and very high Coumadin levels. The ER doctor immediately had the nurse start vitamin K and Fresh Frozen Plasma to thicken the blood and stop the bleed which had been going for 16 hours or more.

The doctors finally told us that she was not going to get any better than she was. She would be much much worse than she had been, most likely non responsive forever. My sisters and I then had to discuss her wishes and DNR. We finally had to decide to put her in hospice care and since she was so bad she was kept in the hospital on the hospice floor.

She was admitted on September 9th and died September 17th, due to the nursing homes neglect and failure to secure medical attention for her for over 16 hours.

Can they be held responsible? Can they be sued for such neglect?

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so do you have that?
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Today I went to try to get her medical records. I called early to let them know I would be there. When I got there, they told me they couldn't find my copy of power of attorney, and that even if they found it they would have to call corporate and i would need an estate executor power to get records.
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A law suit will not bring her back. Typically the persons age is a big driver as to the award, so to be blunt elderly and with dementia may not pay very much. Law suits are very stressful. The best indication as to the "profitability" of the case is whether a good lawyer is willing to take in on for a share of the settlement. If you have to pay out of pocket for representation, it can get very expensive.

I definitely would report them to the State and make sure the entire community knows your story.
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Mom fell on a Friday night, very late, and was taken to the hospital for a checkup within the hour. Saturday morning they called me and said she had broken her hip, but as breaks in the hip go, it wasn't as bad as it could have been. She had a pin put in. She was transferred back to the nursing home (practically next door) on Tuesday - so she was hospitalized 3 days, not 2. She got some physical therapy afterwards so she could at least stand up and not be a dead weight in bed, and is doing well.
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Lassie, 2 days later your mom was back at the nh? my mom was in the hospital longer than that, but now makes me wonder if it was only because it was over a weekend
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I am sorry that I have not been back to this site in a while to check on all of your replies to my question. I have really needed some time to try and heal and make sense of our situation.

Just to update our situation, we did seek the assistance of an attorney in San Diego who solely deals with seniors and injuries/deaths of this nature. We waited for about 10 months after her death before we filed a suit against the nursing home. Just to let you know you have to file within 1 year of their death or you lose the right to sue for certain things. I am sorry but I cannot tell you what they are.

Even when my mother was in the hospital, I was asking for copies of her medical records and when she passed I also obtained her nursing home records as well as those from a hospital she had been in prior to her admission to the nursing home. I would suggest that everyone in our position do the same thing as these records provide a wealth of knowledge that you are NEVER TOLD by the nursing staff.

Almost everyone I have spoken with who has had a parent in a nursing home, states that they died from a fall. The more I heard this the more I began to wonder about my mothers death as well as these other individuals. I am amazed at the number of people who just accept it and never check any further into the circumstances of the fall. I listened to my intuition and began a search which led to an attorney and suing this home. I am listing a few of the "light bulb" moments that made me wonder if what we had been told was indeed true.
1. Nursing home said Mom was alert and speaking ---she was comatose
2. ER said Mom was alert and answering questions ---she was comatose, we met her on arrival at the hospital and she was curled into a fetal position, unable to speak but moaning in pain. These records were corrected*
3. Nursing Director told me she got a call at 10pm that Mom had fallen, but the nurse told me he found her at 11:45pm when she fell. ****What happened to the 1 3/4 hours?
4. Nurse said he called in house doctor immediately and was told to put ice on her badly bruised head and put her back in bed and watch her. Doctor says he did not receive a call until 2am and he was told the bruise was small so he did tell them to put her back in bed and place ice on her head and give her the nurse's call button (she did not know how to use the call button prior to fall).
5. They had an xray company come in the following morning and do an xray of her skull and ribs and said she was fine.
6. At 11am the following day they checked her Coumadin and found out it was at 5.2 not the normal 2-3.
7. They decided to send her to the hospital at 1pm.
8. In ICU Mom was able to speak 2 times where we could understand her. The last thing I heard her say was "I've got to get out of here, this place is dangerous, very dangerous, Mary, Sharon, get me out of here!" She was frantically trying to crawl off the bed while saying this.

We were told by the attorney to file a complaint with the California Health Department that handles complaints against nursing homes which I did. A man when to the home unannounced and began to review the records and speak with the staff, what he found out was that the records were inaccurate, wrong and in some instances not even filled out. He spoke with the Nurse, Nursing Director, Meds Nurse and others and they all had different stories and some thought Mom needed help where others thought she was fine to ambulate on her own. There were no bed alarms turned on and Mom was too far from the nursing station.

He further found out that Mom had NO NURSE ASSIGNED TO HER at night...she was left on her own. That is from 11pm to 7am she had no nurse.

He did not say it to me but eluded to the fact that he felt Mom was kept there for 16 hours waiting for her to become worse, hoping she would not remember how she received "blunt force trauma to the head!" This was exactly what we felt had happened as well. We even felt that possibly she may have been given additional coumadin to cause the brain bleed to worsen. We think she was able to speak right after the injury and tell what had happened to her and they did not want anyone to know because it was NOT AN ACCIDENT SHE CAUSED. He seemed to think we were on the right track.

We recently found out that a "Double A Citation" was filed against the nursing home which is the highest the state is able to file against a nursing home and it carried a $100.000 fine.

We found out that another claim had been settled in 2013/14 against the same home but the records were sealed. We were then contacted by a State Omsbudsman that stated they were helping on another case against this nursing home where the patient had fallen and broke her hip and was placed back in her bed. She died from her injuries 5 days later. We have been asked to testify in this case coming up in April. We know there are more injuries at this home but no one files suits against them so the number is unknown.

I am not saying that everyone needs to run out and file suits against nursing homes, but I do believe each injury and death needs to be checked into....many times there is more to the story and I think "patient falls" have become an easy way of writing off injuries that never should have happened.

I have to say that when my mother died in the hospital, my sisters and I looked at each other and wondered..."Is that all there is? No police are called in, no investigation?" The Omsbudman who called us wants to turn our case over to the Department of Justice for further prosecution. We will see where that goes.

Thank you all for answering my question and I do hope this will help others as well as myself!!!
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Talk to an attorney. This is my experience. I judged bike races for the USCF several years ago. The races are tough and riders can fall despite the judges' and race handler' best efforts to keep the route safe. We sent riders to the ER if they seemed confused after a fall. If they got up, could answer several questions and they didn't report dizzieness, vision problems, or head pain, we let them go home with a driver. These were healthy, very fit young men. I should think the nursing home would at least have taken the same precautions for sick, elderly patients.
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Lassie, the ambulance company just needs you to give them the proper insurance information. Call them.
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Very sad, so sorry for your loss! ... My mother in a nursing home, after a year, suddenly got up in the middle of the night and started walking around. She slipped and fell, breaking her hip. That's what the staff told us, they said they were shocked to see her up and walking. They sent her next door to the hospital in an ambulance and two days later she was back in the nursing home and is doing well...She is on Medicare and Medicaid, all her ss and pension goes to the nursing home. We did tell a lawyer about her fall and he said it is hard to prove negligence in a case like my mother's, and even if we did sue the n.h., in the event they had to pay, the money would be taken by Medicaid....Oh, and now I'm getting a bill (addressed to my mother) for the ambulance fee! Why doesn't Medicare or Medicaid pay that??
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ecobos13, what you have is an ongoing homicide investigation. They will not part with any details, but they will forward them to the DA who will determine if someone should be charged.
Get a good lawyer ASAP.
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