Saturday, August 08, 2009

Workers take pictures of naked elders in Nursing Home

GALAX, Va. -- Two workers at the Waddell Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Galax have been charged with taking naked photographs of patients without their consent.

The Galax Police Department began the investigation after receiving a tip. As a result of the investigation, police arrested Sharon Ann Walker, 29, and Livia Dawn Crisan, 25. Crisan's age was originally listed as 35. Police corrected her age Friday afternoon.

Police said the incidents happened between April 1 and July 15. Wooddell said the two had snapped the pictures using their cell phones.

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NY man serves jail time in nursing home abuse case

A former certified nurse assistant at a Tupper Lake nursing home has been sentenced to time served after pleading guilty to abusing an elderly patient.
John Ette, 42, of Tupper Lake, was arrested in May for physically abusing an 88-year-old resident of Adirondack Medical Center's Mercy nursing home on Oct. 20, 2008.
The state Attorney General's Office said Ette admitted to investigators that he struck the bedridden woman in the face, grabbed her arm and pushed her into her wheelchair. She suffered severe facial bruising and a broken collarbone.
Nursing home staff noticed the woman's injuries the next morning and notified AMC officials, who reported the incident to the state Department of Health. The matter was then referred to the Attorney General's Office for investigation.
Ette was initially charged with endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person in the second degree, a felony; endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person, a misdemeanor; and willful violation of health laws, a misdemeanor. He could have faced up to four years behind bars if convicted on all counts.
You will note from an earlier post that a Massachusetts CNA was undicted for criminal charges charging her with abuse of nursing home residents.

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Elder Abuse Death Rate 6X Higher!

A recent study reveals some disturbing data on senior care and elder abuse. According to the research conducted at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, the risk of death increases significantly—nearly six-fold—when seniors do not care for themselves, reported Medicine Net. The findings appear in the August 5th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Also, when seniors are abused—emotionally, physically, financially, sexually, or through neglect—the risk of death increases by more than double, according the study, said Medicine Net. “Elder self-neglect and abuse really have severe consequences,” said Dr. XinQi Dong, study author and associate professor of medicine at Rush, quoted Medicine Net. According to Dr. Dong, the research indicated that “it’s not just the cognitively impaired,” citing patients with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, affected by these trends, “Even more capable seniors face a higher risk of premature death from self-neglect,” he said, reported Medicine Net.
According to Dr. Thomas Gill, who authored an accompanying editorial in JAMA, self-neglect in the senior demographic is the most common reason a patient is referred to adult protective services, said Medicine Net.
We’ve been following the widespread issue of nursing home abuse for some time. Last year, the former Bush administration finally published the names of 131 of the nation’s worst nursing homes. And, in a harrowing example of the widespread problem of elder abuse and negligence, last year, the family of a deceased Norwich, Connecticut man filed what is believed to be the first wrongful death lawsuit against officials at Connecticut’s largest nursing home chain: Haven Healthcare. The suit claimed that misappropriation of Haven funds by Chief Executive Officer Raymond Termini contributed to “deplorable conditions.”
In that case, the family also sought permission to sue the state departments of public health and social services, and Nancy Shaffer, the state’s long-term care ombudsman, for failing to investigate and act on complaints lodged by the family.
Self-neglect, or one’s inability to care for oneself, involves not providing sufficient “food, water, clothing, shelter … necessary medications, and not following basic hygiene practices,” said Medicine Net, citing both the study and the accompanying editorial.
The team looked at 9,318 Chicago residents over the age of 65, who were participating in the Chicago Health and Aging Project, said Medicine Net, which said the review looked at the period from 1993 to 2005; social service agencies reported self-neglect on 1,544 participants and abuse on 113. In seven years, over 4,300 participants died.
Earlier this year we wrote that two nursing homes in the Rochester, New York area were embroiled in an abuse scandal in which one certified nurse aide at the Kirkhaven Nursing Home in Rochester, and another who worked at the Edna Tina Wilson Living Center in Greece, NY, were arrested as part of a state-wide probe into nursing abuse and healthcare fraud.
Unfortunately nursing home abuse is a common crime. The National Center on Elder Abuse estimates at least one in 20 nursing home patients has been the victim of negligence and or abuse, though it concedes that the number is probably higher. According to the National Center’s study, 57 percent of nurses’ aides in long-term care facilities admitted to having witnessed, and even participating in, acts of negligence and abuse. Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that nursing home neglect played role in the deaths of nearly 14,000 nursing home patients between 1999 and 2002.

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Doctor Accountability - Let's see Doctor's Records

In a recent op-ed piece, the CEO of the New York State Health Foundation proposed setting up patient compensation funds as part of a comprehensive reform package. What he failed to specify was who would supply the funding.
If the doctors and insurers were to kick in without raising their rates, the idea sounds promising. But not if the public is expected to be the funding source.
A better suggestion is to put on the Internet the names of all doctors in the state who have been sued for malpractice in the last 15 years, the amount of any settlement or dollar award to the injured party and any action taken by the state medical society to chastise the defendant in the action.
If the public is given the legal right to look at the malpractice record of doctors in advance, the amount of malpractice litigation would greatly decrease.
Unfortunately, the lobbyists working for the doctors control the state Legislature.
The Golden Rule states "He who has the gold rules."

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Health Care Reform in the face of "Gouging" excessive Salaries

There is a simple answer to the far right's new favorite chant against health care reform — "What's Wrong With Profit?". Nothing. There is nothing inherently wrong with making a profit. But their question misses a point.

Profit, for a while now, hasn't been a problem for the health insurance industry. During the 20 years or so between our attempts at reforming health care, the industry's done quite well. CEOs like United Health's Stephen Hemsley — with $13.2 million in earnings from 2007, and stock options totalling three quarters of a billion dollars — have done quite well. He's in good company.
In the same year, the CEOs of the top seven for-profit insurers averaged $14.2 million in compensation. According to one report, the industry's profits were $65 billion in 2007, down from $67.6 billion in 2006, but well above $48.8 billion in 2005. In 2003, they doubled their profits from 2002.

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Federal rule change affects nursing home litigation

Article from:
Lawyers USA
Article date:
March 3, 2009
A federal rule change slipped into effect in the waning days of the Bush administration could cripple nursing home malpractice litigation.
The rule change (45 CFR part 2) classifies state nursing home inspectors and Medicare and Medicaid contractors as federal Health and Human Services employees, and allows them to testify in third- party lawsuits only with the approval of the federal agency's head.
The change was issued last September, but began attracting the attention of plaintiffs' lawyers in November when state health departments started refusing to comply with requests for documents and depositions.

Friday, August 07, 2009

AZ malpractice claim settled after birth injures baby, mom

PHOENIX -- Maricopa County will pay $312,000 to the family of a boy who suffered permanent injuries during childbirth more than six years ago. The county's Board of Supervisors approved the settlement Wednesday. According to a medical malpractice claim, the medical staff at Maricopa Medical Center failed to offer Estela Cruz a Cesarean section in May 2003 despite ultrasound scans that depicted a baby of "enormous size." As a result, the claim says her son Jose was delivered vaginally, causing severe damage to his right shoulder as well as injuries to the mother. The claim says Jose Cruz weighed 12 pounds, 1 ounce when he was born. The medical malpractice claim was filed against MedPro, the hospital's contracted physicians group. Maricopa County operated the medical center at the time. MedPro and the county settled the case for an undisclosed amount and county's portion was $312,000.