Negligence in nursing home. Should I sue or let it go?

Follow
Share

Mom died in October of 2013. She was in nursing home for 4 months. They oversedated her and after a discussion with the staff in a meeting we had called due to all the drugs, they were supposed to take her back to baseline. They never did that and then they sent her to detox in a psych ward and she got pneumonia and gave up and died. One of the visiting psych people also told me mom was being abused by her roomate and all of the sudden she was removed from mom's care and replaced with this person whom I say killed my mom. Should I sue or should I let this go? A gentleman told me this happened to his wife as well on the 1st day we took mom to the nursing home. His wife also passed. I am torn as to what to do but something keeps knawing at me to do something. I am confused. Any advice would be helpful to help me make a decision one way or the other. I know it won't bring her back but maybe I can make a difference for someone else's family.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
14

Answers

Show:
SUE - I think that is the only way Nursing homes are ever going to improve. Hopefully you did not sign an Arbitration agreement when your family member was admitted. That document can bind you to an arbitration hearing i.e. no jury trial & it could also cap the amt of settlement money you can get even if you win your case. In some states you legally do not have to sign this agreement and the nursing home cannot require you to in order for a family member to be admitted.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Pam's advice is spot on.

Hearsay from other patients is not really evidence. And it's also based on the opinions of others who may or may not have a medical/legal perspective.

The best way to determine whether suit is appropriate is to contact a medical malpractice attorney. Without challenging anyone else's advice, a personal injury attorney does not normally deal in med/mal cases, which have different standards and require medical professional(s) to review the records and confirm any neglect or wrongdoing.

And yes, I speak from experience, having worked for both plaintiff and defense medmal firms.

A med/mal attorney would, if he/she thought there is a case,likely first order the nursing home records and have them reviewed either by a nurse practitioner (some of which are on staff at med/mal law firms) or a physician with a specialty in the specific area of neglect, and who could potentially also act as the medical expert.

Neglect requires breach of the standard of care in the locality, so there would have to be evidence that the standard of care for someone with your mother's condition and at a SNF was in fact not followed in order for neglect to be found.

The other complicating factor is the actual loss. Based on her age, the SNF (through its attorneys) could argue that your mother's time was limited, that she was too old to work so there's no loss of income, and that her death was inevitable.

This is also a good reason to find a med/mal attorney who specializes in nursing home abuse and neglect.

There are ombuds/organizations in SE Michigan which can offer insight into various nursing homes (such as one where there is a higher than expected death rate for patients. You might research your are to see if there are any locally, and contact (one of) them, for your peace of mind, to determine whether or not there's a history of neglect or abuse at that particular nursing home.

This is a difficult situation; I think I would feel the need to get at the bottom of the situation to find out what really happened, but there's the opposite issue of the stress that a lawsuit could create after already having just lost your mother. It would prevent you from having closure.

That's why I would recommend consulting a nursing home med/mal attorney as well as filing the complaints Pam suggested. If the attorney tells you there's no case, then you have it literally from the horse's mouth.

Good luck. I hope you're able to find some peace during the process of exploring your options.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

so if I have an engine with 350 thousand miles on it and a mechanic throws patches at it as best he can, I don't think ill sue him when a connecting rod comes thru the hood.
the cause of death on the death certificate speaks volumes..
the only thing you could have done differently would have been to frequent the home at odd hours and let the staff know that you were a force to contend with.
I say let it go and let yourself heal..
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

You can also file a complaint with the state agency that licenses the nursing home (they should have both a federal and a state license/registration). If staff knew or suspected that a patient's roommate was abusing other patients, they should have taken action.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

If you said you were complaining about nurses, you would have met with nursing staff or maybe even and Ombudsman. The Ombudsman will meet with both sides separately and formulate a solution. They do not want the meeting to turn into an ugly confrontation. The doctors are always in charge, all the way to the top. Nurses and aides just follow the orders of the MD.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I just contacted the joint commission today. If the doctor was in charge why was no one representing him in that meeting with all of us?
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

There had to be an MD in charge of the "psych people". They don't change meds willy-nilly, and psychotropics are highly controlled meds. What did the joint commission state in their findings?
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I did file a complaint with the joint commission. The doctor did not do her anxiety meds. The psych people did as they were the ones who called me to tell me they were changing them. The doctor was never at the meeting we called with the staff.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

It wouldn't be the NH that over medicated her. Those orders had to come from her doctor.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

anonymous, they are forbidden by law to discuss an employee's record with you, confidentiality laws are at work there. Just like HIPAA. The ladies don't change the meds, they just give what the doctor has ordered. Nor do they do the commitment under 302. They fill out the form and the county mental health dept determines whether the patient is a danger to themselves or others.
AGAIN I will tell you to go to jointcommission.org if you wish to file a complaint, and you want a thorough, independent examination.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.