Houston Elder Abuse Lawyer
Everyday thousands of our elderly suffer from nursing home negligence or nursing home abuse. Unfortunately, it’s a growing problem in Houston as well. Chances are, if your family member was a victim others in and around the center have been victims of elderly abuse.
Elder abuse comes in all shapes and forms. Some of the main reports of abuse consist of:
- Physical Abuse
- Negligent Care
- Sexual Abuse
The nursing home abuse lawyers at Sutliff& Stout, PLLC review and investigate claims for injuries suffered as a result of nursing home neglect and abuse throughout the state of Texas, as well as nationwide.
We believe that nursing home lawsuits are important for two primary reasons: 1) provide compensation to victims of abuse; and 2) safeguard against unscrupulous individuals and companies that prey on the elderly and disabled.
If you think that a family member or loved one has suffered a serious physical injury as a result of negligent care, contact us today to schedule a free consultation and claim evaluation
TYPES OF NURSING HOME LAWSUITS
The most common nursing home injury claims include:
- Bedsores (also known as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers)
- Dehydration and malnutrition
- Abuse and Assault
- Restraint Injuries and Strangulation
- Falls and Fractures
- Wrongful Death
Other potential medical malpractice claims which may arise for a nursing home resident include:
- Misdiagnosis or Failure to Diagnose
- Prescription Errors
- Medical Mistakes
Bedsores (also known as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers) are often fatal lesions which occur when prolonged pressure on skin results in extreme damage. Bedsores, also known as pressure sores or ulcers, most frequently afflict parts of the body where skin covers protruding bone structures, such as the heels, ankles, buttocks or hips. Usually categorized into four stages, the extent of damage caused by a bedsore can range from minimal skin irritation to gaping wounds with flesh, muscle and bone loss.
Bedsores pose a significant health hazard to the elderly population specifically, and can often be the result of nursing home neglect or abuse. People with limited ranges of motion, or those constrained to a wheelchair or bed, constitute a majority of the population in nursing homes. Inspection of the skin for any possible symptoms of bed sores should be a routine part of nursing home care. Signs that something may be wrong include fever, foul odor and the necessity to drain fluids and infection from the skin.
Dehydration and malnutrition
Dehydration and malnutrition normally affect certain age groups and demographics more so than others, and the one most commonly afflicted by lack of food and water are the elderly. More often times than not, the maltreatment is not intentional and reflects negligence on behalf of the nursing home staff. Dehydration is caused by two factors: lack of adequate water and fluids, and an excessively warm or hot climate. Many times, family and friends of those in nursing homes recall water being inaccessible or unavailable, as well as room temperatures not being adequately monitored. Malnutrition can also stem from negligence or short-staffing of a nursing home facility. The main type of malnutrition occurs when a person is not given a meal at all, as a punishment or lack of remembrance. The other type happens when insufficient food or nutrients is delivered to people with special needs. Diabetic residents at a nursing home have different nutritional requirements than heart patients at the same place, and overlooking these differences can result in fatalities.
Abuse and Assault
General abuse and assault is a frequent occurrence in nursing homes and rehabilitation centers. It can occur between staff and residents, or even amongst residents themselves. It is the responsibility of nursing home staff to ensure the safety and security of its residents, but far too often nursing home staffing is insufficient or severely undertrained to deal with the problems associated with old age and deteriorating health. Signs of nursing home abuse normally involve both physical and emotional aspects. Visible signs include open wounds, bruising, and burn marks. Other outward warning signs are sudden weight gain or loss, as well as rapid and unexplained hair loss. Emotional abuse can be even more traumatic, and harder to spot too. Insults, humiliation, life threats and frightening residents all constitute types of emotional abuse. If your loved one experiences drastic changes in mood or demeanor, or displays signs of being scared or unwilling to open up, they may be suffering from nursing home abuse and assault.
Restraint Injuries and Strangulation
Restraints should be issued only when it comes to a matter of a resident’s safety, and never as a punitive measure. Additionally, restraints can only be used when given under direct physician orders, and the type and duration of restriction is specifically established. It is against the law to subject nursing home residents to chemical restraints as disciplinarian measures, unauthorized corporal seclusion, and physical aggression. Signs of being restrained or strangled include unnatural markings around the throat, ankles or wrists, a newly developed sense of fear of human contact or touch, and general mood changes towards subduedness or depression.
Falls and Fractures
Slip and fall injuries can lead to injuries in all age groups and demographics, but senior citizens sustain the highest number, and severity, of injuries resulting from this type of accident. The most common damage is done to the bone and tendons, resulting in fractures and sprains respectively. A majority of elderly people suffer from some extent of osteoporosis, which results in brittle, easily damaged bones. Additionally, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis make coordination and recovery from heavy falls more difficult. Often, slip and fall injuries can be traced back to maintenance/repair neglect on behalf of nursing home staff, or intentional abuse or contact which leads to a resident’s instability and eventual fall.
All of the different types of nursing home abuse and neglect listed above can result in the eventual wrongful death of a loved ones. Elderly people do not have the benefit of a strong immune system the way that the younger generation does, and consequently the Infections from bedsores caused by negligence or fractures caused by abuse and intentional misguidance are harder to recover from for them. Only adding to the problem is the frequent understaffing or improperly trained management that many nursing homes exhibit. Nursing homes may try to use old age and deteriorating health as an excuse for a resident’s passing, but abuse and neglect can often be found as the underlying cause.
If you think that a family member or loved one has suffered a serious physical injury as a result of negligent care, contact us today to schedule a free consultation and claim evaluation. Please remember that every claim has a deadline and, thus, it is important that you seek legal advice as soon as possible.