Nursing Home Malpractice

PA Health Department Says Inspection Reports Not For Court, Lobbyist Behind the Change

Robert Sachs, Esq. There is no question that very serious problems of neglect, abuse, and inside politics currently wrack the nursing home industry. Here in Pennsylvania, the fight to protect our elderly loved ones against such negligence and corruption is very real. Last year, the state health department posted a disclaimer that their “surveys” of nursing home compliance with safety regulations were not intended “to be evidence of compliance with any legal standard of care in third-party litigation.” In other words, inspection records were not to be used against nursing homes in court. This type of language clearly tries …


South Dakota Tort Reform Leaves Malpractice Victims Without Just Recovery

Chris Welsh, Esq. Lawyers in South Dakota are having to turn away serious medical malpractice cases–but why? A perfect storm of tort reform. Tort reform advocates have their theories, the most dedicated being that frivolous lawsuits are unpredictably costly and that they deter medical providers from doing their job. Lawsuits, they claim, can be especially damaging to health care systems in rural areas, where doctors may not be able to afford jury verdicts or malpractice insurance. Their hypothesis? Doctors will abandon rural towns. This is the hypothetical fear in South Dakota that was cemented into legislation from the 1970’s. Ironically, …


Has Your Family Experienced Medical Error? Share Your Story

Chris Welsh, Esq. Investigative blog platform, Vox, and public interest journalism site, ProPublica, are joining together to share stories of real-life medical error. Too often, stories of medical error are summarized in a statistic. Ironically, this makes them easier to swallow–and forget–no matter how incredible the number. The most up to date statistic is that between 44,000 and 98,000 Americans die each year from preventable medical error, but many experts believe the number to be exponentially greater (Vox). Due to a wide variety of problems, medical error is widely underreported. According to another report by Vox, reasons for underreporting …


American Nursing Homes Leave Elderly to Care for Themselves

Tad Thomas, Esq. One of today’s greatest crisis is also the worst irony: nursing homes are largely without nurses. Thirty years ago, elder justice advocates already saw this crisis brewing. In 1987, federal law intended to make it law that a nurse had to be on premises of every nursing home at least 8 hours a day. In a struggle to pass at least some regulation, this intention disappeared in compromise. Today, the NY Times reports, nursing homes do not have a nurses present all of the time, or even most of the time. Appalled that it has taken decades …


Pervasive Home-Ratings At the Crux of Nursing Home Issue

Saul Gruber, Esq. New evidence reveals that Medicare nursing home ratings, the most referred to and mistakenly trusted measurement for quality elder care, are dangerously misleading. Why? There are three criterion for grading a nursing home, one of which involves  an outside health inspection, the other two are self-reported. It’s no surprise that in 50 homes on a federal watch list, most had 4 or 5 stars in the areas they could rate themselves (like incidents of falls or bedsores), but overwhelmingly received rates of 1 or 2 stars in the area of independent inspection (NY TIMES). The value of the …


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