The population of nursing home residents in New York and across the nation has been steadily rising and is likely to continue to rise in the years to come. Unfortunately, not every nursing home or residential care facility provides an equal level of comfort, care, and support to its patients. While some homes are able to give the necessary and proper care, many fall short. Abuse or negligence can occur, leading to issues such as malnutrition or clogged breathing. Serious injuries and even death can result when frail and dependent nursing home residents are not treated appropriately. If you suspect that your loved one has been a victim of neglect or abuse, Rockland County nursing home negligence lawyer Valerie J. Crown will be glad to talk to you about your concerns. We know that bringing a legal claim can be a difficult process, but we will work hard to make sure that your family member has a voice in the legal system.
Since nursing home patients are often confined to a bed or wheelchair, issues involving airway obstruction or clogged breathing are not unusual. Conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, and asthma can cause difficulty breathing due to obstructions in a patient’s lungs or airways. While there are medical treatments for these conditions, a patient in an understaffed nursing home, or one who has been subjected to enforced isolation as a form of punishment, may not get the care that he or she needs. Additionally, breathing tubes can become twisted, cutting off or reducing a patient’s supply of oxygen. A patient may have difficult eating, causing food to become trapped in his or her airway. When nursing home employees are slow to respond to a patient in distress, death or permanent disabilities can result.Seeking Compensation for Injuries Caused by Clogged Breathing
Nursing home lawsuits may involve allegations of intentional physical or emotional abuse, or a complaint may be based on negligence (failing to act in a reasonably prudent manner). In a case involving negligence only, the plaintiff does not need to prove that the defendant acted with the intention of causing harm to the patient, only that the defendant had a duty of care to the patient, that this duty was breached, that the patient suffered harm, and that the breach of duty was the proximate cause of the harm suffered by the patient.
Generally, nursing home negligence cases place the burden of proof on the patient or his or her family representative. There is no presumption that the nursing home acted negligently or wrongfully simply because a patient was hurt or passed away (with the exception of bed sore cases). Instead, the plaintiff’s attorney usually will build a case of liability by securing the patient’s medical records, hiring an expert witness to review those records and render an opinion as to whether the standard of care was breached, and then presenting that witness’ testimony at trial. The defendant nursing home or health care practitioner has a right to hire their own expert witness (and speak on their own behalf). It is up to the jury to determine which side has presented the more convincing evidence.Talk to a Rockland County Attorney About a Loved One’s Injury or Death
The first step in seeking compensation for a loved one’s injuries or wrongful death caused by neglect or abuse in a nursing home is to consult an attorney who is experienced in these types of cases. At the Law Firm of Valerie J. Crown, P.C., we regularly handle nursing home negligence cases in Rockland County, as well as New York City and Westchester, Orange, Dutchess, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties, and we will be glad to schedule a free consultation for you to come in and tell us about your loved one’s situation. You can reach us at 845.708.5900 or contact us online, or you can call Valerie’s cell phone 24/7 at 845.598.8253. Cases not filed within the applicable statute of limitations will likely be dismissed by the court as untimely, so it is important to take prompt legal action if you suspect that a family member has been neglected or mistreated while a patient at a nursing home, long-term facility, or assisted living center in the Greater New York area.