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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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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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SInce the original post was back in 2014, I have had a chance to see things differently since my Mom had passed late last year from complications to a fall. The wasn't her first fall apparently as the x-rays showed a previous brain bleed.

These falls were at my parent's house under the watch of my Dad, actually they were caregiving each other, I wouldn't think of suing my Dad for not getting my Mom immediate medical care on her first fall, as according to Dad my Mom was able to get up, sat for awhile, and then continued on with her housekeeping for several more days.... until the 2nd fall where EMT were called, yes there was signs of a previous brain bleed. Mom recovered but a week later another fall, another call to 911, and another brain bleed, but there were serious complications.

Would we sue a relative who was caregiving for an elder who had fallen on their watch? Probably not. Especially if the elder gave indications they were fine.
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I'm concerned, after what she said about the ER visit, as to the accuracy of the info in the nh medical records
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To clarify: My husband was declared dead at 10:30 p.m. and I was called at 10:45 p.m. He had a history of climbing over the bed rails.
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Another thing I just thought of is maybe possibly contacting your local DA. See if that person can help you.

You'll also want to contact the Better Business Bureau in that area where the nursing home is and report the incident. They'll investigate on your behalf.

Another person to contact is your local mayor and even the police department. Don't leave no stone unturned, contact anyone and everyone until you find the right person. You may also want to contact all of your elected state officials to see if they may be able to direct you or even help you. Follow all leads you're given because at some point the nursing home is going to find out you're on their tail
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Listen to those who say to consult an attorney. I didn't sue the nursing home where my husband died four months after a fall, even though the medical examiner said he had suffered a brain bleed. I believe their account of the accident, but you have received conflicting information. I my case, I was called 15 minutes after the death.
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Have you ever considered contacting your states civil rights department? It sounds to me like the nursing home not only has under trained staff, but it also sounds like they may be understaffed and have a low rating for a very good reason. What I'm picking up is they probably messed up and they were probably trying to cover it up. You said they changed their story at some point, this to me sounds like a red flag that something happened and they're trying to cover it up. Companies often do this when they mess up and they're trying to cover it up. You may not recognize it at the time, but I strongly agree with the mention of hindsight for a very good reason. You really want to get to the bottom of this because it sounds to me like something other than a fall happened, and I would definitely have suspicion in your situation. You can also hire a private investigator or for short PI.

Try to get a hold of your mom's medical records to see if she had any hidden problems you didn't know about, because you want to leave no stone unturned. You want to see if maybe any condition could've led up to her falling just in case the fall really was true. If she was trying to get up from a chair or bed and maybe she wasn't supposed to be navigating alone, this is something you can take note of. You can also find out who the head department of nursing is by calling the nursing home and asking for the head department of nursing. After noting everything you realized, tell the person your concerns and observations. Explain that you've already alerted an attorney and see what they say.

Just the fact that there was a 16 hour delay in getting medical help is another big red flag. Anytime an elderly person falls and hits their head, medical help should be immediately delivered even if the person appears OK. Things like you're describing is exactly why it's so important to always check for a hidden head injury even if a person seems OK, and I'll explain why:

I once had another elderly friend living in another area who happened to have fallen I think in his apartment and hit his head. Right after that incident, he died very shortly after. The family found out and suspected right away he died of a head injury in the fall. He didn't die right away, but very shortly after. Deadly head injuries are very common in the elderly no matter the circumstance. This is why elders should always get their heads checked anytime they have an accident that causes them to hit their heads. Catching an injury early will mean the difference between life and death. This is why you don't want to ignore a head injury, especially now knowing your love one could've possibly live much longer had the head injury been checked and addressed immediately.

The injury was already there when your loved one hit their head, and this is why the nursing home was definitely negligent according to what you described. You mentioned a brain bleed, so obviously the injury happened when your love one hit their head but still appeared OK. Anytime there's a brain bleed, there's always a procedure that needs done to relieve the pressure that builds up with brain bleeding. This is why it's so vital to address head injuries immediately because these types of injuries require certain care that is very vital in saving the brain and the persons life. This is why I think the nursing home was definitely negligent and you should have some kind of legal recourse on this one. Suspicion alone won't be enough to go after the nursing home, you're going to need some kind of proof such as documentation.

* Such documentation will require something from the medical records from the end of the life of your loved one as well as the death certificate. This is what you're going to want to show the attorney because there are certain things they're looking for, and these specific types of documents are vital key evidence you definitely need in this type of case. The more evidence you have, the stronger your case will be, and the stronger your case, the more likely you'll win. Time is usually of the essence because there's usually a limited time window when you can sue for restoration from damage. You're definitely going to need to go after damages because now there's not only medical cost including nursing home cost, but now a funeral. Funerals and medical costs are often unexpected expenses that tend to drain a family's savings. This is why you need to act fast to find an attorney who can help you. If you're not sure who to call, or maybe you're having a hard time even getting an attorney, try calling your local legal aid. If they're having a problem with taking your case due to lacking money or a proper lawyer, call your local Bar Association. If they suggest legal aid, tell them you've already been there, which is exactly why you called them because you're out of options. Explain the situation including calling legal aid to no avail if you have any trouble. Persist and don't back down until you get some help. Another thing you can try is to alert the insurance company involved in covering any medical cost for you. Explain to them you need some help because you can't find an attorney. You definitely want to contact everyone you can think of including the hospital who treated your mom at the time. They may direct you to a social worker. Tell the social worker what happened and that you can't find an attorney in the event that you really can't find an attorney. Only take this route if you've tried every other route and it has failed. Hospitals network with nursing homes, so surely something is bound to work.
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yea, very similar situation with my dil's sister's husband - they're supposedly waiting on a settlement now, so apparently they had a case, like I said, very similar
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Ecobos, that is very strange, why were the police called in the first place?
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My mother fell and broke her hip. Doctors recommended rehab/senior ccenter for 21 days. She had alzheimers, but not severe. She hated being there and looked disororiented most of the time. She was very anxious and upset. My sister and I tried to make her understand that it was going to ge only 21 days. She had assisted living and we were trying to get her more hours. Two days before she died she had an appointment with the orthopeadic doctor for a follow up. They took forever to go get her, and she got very anxious. I was very upset and called center several times. I just didn't know what to do. When they finally got there, i TOLD them how upset she was. After work I went to see her and she looked totally out of it. She looked really drugged. I asked the nurse in charge and she told me the meds for her anxiety were finally kicking in. Two nights later, I got a call at 2:31 in the morning telling me my mom had died. When we got there, there were two cops, a nurse, and a cleaning lady. We literally were there for two hours and cops would not let us in . The nurse, who was a very young guy came to tell us that he had found her walking withthe walker and took her to her room. Then, after an hour he hear her bracelet on her leg go off, but that he thought it was somebody else. He said that when he found her there was a lot of blood. They didn't let us see her body until 4 days later. We had a dnr order and they claimed that that's why we couldn't see her. They said she had tubes all over. I have been calling for meetings for answers and havent gotten a response. I want to get a police report and talk to director. If I get no answers Im calling corporate.
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She should have been sent to the ER on the spot to have a brain CT scan. This was neglect. And yes you can and SHOULD sue. There are already conflicting stories of how and when this happened. My condolences to you and your family. My sister was sent to a home for simple rehab for a pelvic fracture. She had been in rehab before for her hip but the place she went to for her hip had no openings. Therefore she was sent to a different place. In 9 days they killed my sister. I went daily and one Sunday she was in the dining room slumped in her chair not aware of much of anything. I took her to her room and the RN ( so called RN) was outside her room dispensing meds. I told her there is something wrong with my sister, this is not how she acts. I told them she was prone to Peumonia and UTI,s and had anyone listened to her lungs or examined her. The RN,s response was I DONT KNOW!! I went to the charge nurse telling her the same things. She said she would "text" the Dr. Well 2 days later she was sent to the ER unresponsive. Guess what? She had pneumonia and a UTI!!! They totally ignored me. She had aspirated and God only knows how long she laid in her own mucus unable to breathe before they found her. She was put on a ventilator which she did not want before I arrived at the ER. A very long 2 week story she died. She got sepsis and MRSA. Her kidneys started to fail. We had to send her to hospice care within the hospital and watch her slowing die. The Dr.,s had told us her life would be in a nursing home with a trachea tube and feeding tube. There was no way we were allowing her to return to ANY home just to lay, be kept alive for them to make $5000 a month. We let her go hardest thing I have EVER had to do. I have guilt feelings about her going to the nursing home who killed her. She went there on the 17th of Feb and was gone into unresponsive state Feb 26 9 days later. Should you sue YES. The only place you can hurt these uncaring places is in the pocket. If enough claims are made against a neglectful nursing home sooner or later they will be forced to shut down due to financial hardships. That is our goal to see this place shut down. Also the same thing happened in January to a familys father. They ignored the families concerns about certain issues and he also died.
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Stressed52, so sorry to hear of your mother's passing.

I am just curious, if one is placed into any type of facility to live, is there a contract that one needs to sign? If so, read through the contract to see if there is anything about liability, and any type of time frame for filing.

Being that your mother had passed just this past Wednesday, I wouldn't be in any type of rush as you all need time to grieve [depending on the time frame to file a lawsuit] and then see how you all feel about going ahead with a lawsuit. Liability lawsuits are very time consuming, so everyone will have to be ready. If an attorney says go ahead, follow his/her advice. Find an attorney that has a good track record when it comes to nursing home litigations.
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i would concider volunteering at the home for a month then decide how negligible they are. Sorry for your loss
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I am very sorry for the loss of your mom in such a difficult and heartbreaking way. The thing I don't understand is how her coumadin got to a 5.6 level. They should have been checking it on a very regular basis to make sure she stayed in the 2-3 level. My mom has been on it for years and she's checked monthly. If her number is out of whack, they start checking her every other week or even weekly.

Your mom was in a facility where they could have checked it daily with a portable unit if they needed to, particularly after a fall. So for it to be so far outside of range and not treated is just difficult for me to understand. I'd certainly consult with an attorney to see if you have a case for a lawsuit. Again, condolences on the loss of your mom.
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This is such a sad, sad story. I would like to cry with you a bit, to fix you some tea or just listen to the pain of losing mom. Have you considered what going through all of this maybe over the course of 6 mos to 2 years or more, what would it do to you and your sister? To keep suffering for what your mom went through, over an extended period (I doubt the case would even be brought to the courtroom for at least a few months) would she want this? You may want to find a friend of a friend or just go to another home and ask what they would have done in this situation. As was previously mentioned, if your mom was up and talking and had breakfast, it would seem to just about everyone that she "just bumped her head." Hindsight is so 20/20, it does seem like they are culpable in something, or are they? Remember that celebrity skier who took a tumble, complained of a headache afterward then neither she nor her family or friends thought anything of it ... until she died some hours later? Doctor visits are usually initiated by blood, broken bones, rash or hysteria, not by doing every day things the way they did them every day. I just worry what going over and over this will do to you and your sister.... were they really at fault or was it somehow your mother's time? Lots of warm hugs to you. Let us know what you decided to do.
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Stress52, Hope to hear from you soon. I spoke to my brother and he said to email him your posts for his opinion, but I don't want to do that without your permission. He will also give you the best websites for finding a GOOD lawyer in your area. I sent you a message, but haven't heard back. Sometimes messages get lost in your news feed. Let me know if you want the help.
Once again I am so sorry for your loss.
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PS. Knowing what I know from following some of his high profile cases, I think you definitely have a case. The lawyers will only take on a case they think they can win. They outlay a large amount of money for medical experts and expenses. If the attorney does not have the money to do this, than they might say no, but would not give you that reason. If the first says no, try a second and a third. Do NOT go to any of those 1- 800 firms you see advertised. Ask friends, google and check case histories. If 3 say no, then you should give up and move on. Sometimes when they are so close to death as it is, there will only be punitive damage as there is no loss of income or pain and suffering for the victim. A law suit won't bring her back, but shoddy care should be addressed to protect others ,as well. Winning damages won't relieve the grief, but it does give you a sense of satisfaction that you did all you could before and after her death. Again, my sincere condolences.
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I am so sorry for your loss. The circumstances must make it even more difficult. My brother is a malpractice attorney. They do free consultation and if they take your case, the fee is a percentage of what they collect for you. PLEASE research your lawyer, like you would a DR. There are good and bad in every profession. If you let me know where you live, I might be able to get you a referral. Good luck and God bless.
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My deep condolences on your mother's death.

I also agree that you should see an attorney who specializes in these kinds of cases.

The decision for an elder who is both at risk of falling and also at risk of stroke on whether to use a blood thinner is a tricky balancing act. A stroke on top of dementia would be very detrimental to quality of life. A fall while on a blood thinner could lead to brain bleed or other internal bleeding.

Your mother was on a blood thinner. I assume that is what lead to the brain bleed. Was the NH negligent in not taking her INR immediately and frequently after her fall? I don't know what the standard NH protocol is in such situations. A lawyer would know.

I'm a little unclear on the chronology. She fell at night and then either walked or was wheeled to breakfast and then what? It isn't important that we know, but I suggest you make out a clear timeline before you see the lawyer, including indicating who told you what, including discrepancies about who took her to breakfast, etc.

On other issues, I would sincerely like to think that the tiff between your sister and the nurse had nothing to do with her treatment. Most professionals can and do rise above such distracting personal matters and are able to care appropriately for their patients. It sounds like he did what the doctor told him to do. (In my mother's NH the nurses seldom do toileting themselves, but that is neither here nor there.) If he did follow the doctor's orders about ice on the bruise, I think it would be hard to prove that he personally was negligent. (But I am not a lawyer.)

I would like to hear the results of your contact with lawyers. We learn from each other.

If a lawyer feels you have a case, I wish you every success. If it does not appear a successful case can be made, I wish you success in putting this legal concern behind you and going forward with the normal mourning process for the loss of your dear mother.
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Ok, she fell at 11:45 pm, but got xrays WHEN? If she was alert and went to breakfast, there was no brain bleed at breakfast. It had to happen later. The question is when.
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There had been a bit of an argument between my older sister and Mom's male nurse just before this happened. My sister went to visit and Mom needed to use the bathroom and my sister said they had a diaper on her so sister asked male nurse for another diaper. My mother had said that she did not want men helping her change her clothes or diaper. Sister told nurse this and asked that he get a female to do it. Nurse got upset and said "No she will just have to get used to it!" Sister and him got into a tiff over it. When I heard about it I told her, You had better watch out and not get angry with these people, they do have our mother and could treat her badly if you make them mad.

That night my mother fell striking her head, shoulder and ribs. She had 3 hemorrhages in the brain. He held ice on her bruise but she was not transported to the hospital for 16+ hours.....until it was too late basically.

We were there when she arrived and she was comatose/absolutely non responsive, unable to open her eyes but moaning in pain. The ER doctor asked us if Mom was always like this and we said NO ABSOLUTELY NOT, SHE TALKS, WALKS, OPENS HER EYES EVEN WORKS IN THE GARDEN.....THIS IS NOT OUR MOTHER BY A LONG SHOT! He said okay but his ER medical records read that she was awake, alert, talking, no pain etc. NONE OF THIS IS TRUE ABSOLUTELY NONE OF IT.

I have gone to the Medical Records Dept to ask this be corrected but it hasn't yet. The entire thing is a mess.
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