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Nursing Homes Abuse Blog

By Jonathan Rosenfeld

Lack of Care Choices Results in Many Young People Relying On Nursing Homes for Their Medical Care

Posted in Children In Nursing Homes, Group Homes, Foster Care & Day Care

Medical Care through Nursing Homes for Younger PeopleNursing homes are generally defined as public homes where those people live who do not require hospital care but at the same time, cannot live at home because an injury or disability makes them unable to care for themselves.

In the past few decades of advancing medical care, there have been more turnarounds in serious health injuries than it could have been predicted 20 years back. Simply put, this advancement has enabled the younger generation to survive, even in potentially fatal accidents and diseases. As a result, most of these youngsters are living at nursing homes with the elderly.

Why Are Young People Rushing to Nursing Homes?

The elderly are sent to nursing homes to live until death but these youngsters only require a few years of rehabilitation. The facilities, the nursing staff and the care available at these nursing homes are not qualified to administer rehabilitation cases of youngsters. This leads to delayed stays at these nursing homes, for the young people. Consequently, there is a lack of bed space available to the elderly that need the immediate care of a nursing home.

Did you know that the average age of residents at a nursing home is 83? The number of people who will live in nursing homes this year is at an estimated 3.3 million. It is believed that a good percentage of these will be under 65 years of age due to lack of appropriate facilities that are forcing people as young as 26 to live in nursing homes.

What Do The Statistics Say?

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, in 2005, the number of nursing home residents under the age of 65 was at 12.9%. This number had risen by 1.3 percent in 2009. The report published by the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services argues that this increase in the number of residents under the age of 65 may be due to an increasing number of short-term residents that only require care and assistance after critical hospitalization.

Why Nursing Homes Are Not Equipped For Young People

There is a good chance that every nursing home resident under the age of 65 may be depressed. When a life crisis causes disabilities to a person such as a brain injury, a bone injury or losing sight, a young patient will have a quicker chance of recovering and adapting to the change than those that are older. The licensed nursing staff hired at nursing homes is only trained to adapt to the pace of older people who are likely to spend the rest of their lives at the nursing homes.

The younger residents never receive the pace of care and rehabilitation required for their quick progress. In return, the young residents are forced to spend more time at the nursing homes than necessary. This leads to an underlying depression in the young residents.

Preventing Falls In The Elderly

Posted in Hip Fracture

Elderly and FallsOne of the largest concerns for the elderly is preventing falls. They are the largest cause of injury death for people 65 years and older, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).  In 2008, 19,700 older adults died from fall injuries and in 2009, 2.2 million fall injuries were treated at emergency rooms across the country.

Causes Of Falls

Falls occur more often with the elderly for various reasons, most of them linked to

deteriorating health issues including:

  • Certain health conditions
  • Loss of mobility and balance
  • Vision issues
  • Drug side effects
  • Circulation problems, including numbness in their feet

Not are elderly more likely to fall, they are at risk for traumatic brain injury (TBI) when they do. Falls accounted for an estimated 50% of TBI deaths in the 65 and older patients that were in a CDC study in 2005. The study also pointed out that those 65 and older have over a 30% chance of falling, 1 out of 3.

Preventing Falls At Nursing Homes

Falls are common for nursing home patients. Even though the risk is greater, many falls at nursing homes are found to be due to negligence on the part of the facility as they responsible for protecting patients from falls and other injuries. There are measures that can be taken to reduce falls.

  • Get regular exercise. Keep strength and mobility is important in the elderly. Nursing homes should make sure their patients are keeping as active as possible.
  • Medication awareness. Some medications can cause dizziness or drowsiness. Patients on these medications may need extra help to prevent them from falling.
  • Vision issues. Vision needs to be monitored and checked once a year to make sure they have adequate eye wear to see properly.
  • Reduce hazards. Keeping areas well lit and accessable is important to avoiding tripping and falling over unseen items.

Allowing a patient to walk in areas that are dim or cluttered, or without supervision when they have a high risk for falling, can be a sign of poor care on the part of the nursing home.

Hospice Care May Not Be As Sincere as Families Believe

Posted in Whistleblower / Qui Tam Claims

Hospice Cares and Questions about Sincerity

What is Hospice Care?

Hospice care refers to the provision of medical and emotional support to people who are in the last stages of a serious illness, or those who are thought to have six months left due to a particular illness. Such patients agree to shift from the exhausting treatments for illnesses such as cancer or heart failure, to a more comfortable form of care. Hospices also provide support to family members, providing them with help in managing the care needed and the emotional challenges faced when a loved one is dying.

However, if patients live beyond the six-month deadline, the doctors and caregivers are supposed to reassess the patient’s condition to determine whether they still qualify for hospice care.

The Sincerity of Hospices

Medicare, a federal system of health insurance for the elderly and disabled, has monitored hospice care facility finances since billings started to rise. The amount of billings rose from around two billion dollars in 1998 to twelve billion dollars in 2009, partly due to successful advertisement campaigns that spread the message to patients and entrepreneurs alike.

After conducting further research into the staggering dollar amounts of billings, Medicare found that there was a sharp rise in the number of patients enrolled in the program with vague diagnoses. One such diagnosis was “debility,” a syndrome in which the patient experiences a loss in weight, malnutrition, deterioration of bodily functions and other chronic conditions.

According to Medicare, debility turned out to be the leading diagnosis in hospices around the country, with numbers of affected patients increasing from 8,534 in 1998 to 120,631 in 2009. Non-Alzheimer’s dementia was another such disease and turned out to be the second highest diagnosis, with 119,872 affected patients enrolled in hospices by 2009.

Evidence of Hospice Insincerity

A recent lawsuit filed by Medicare against Vitas Healthcare, Miami, throws light upon the prevalence of insincerity in hospice care. The charges were that Medicare had been falsely billed or over-billed for patients who did not qualify for the care provided by hospices.

Vitas, the nation’s largest hospice, was accused of pocketing tens to hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money through over-billing or false billing. The federal lawsuit states that Vitas continued to enroll patients who were not terminally ill and provided false bills for costly crisis care, which is intensive, twenty-four hour care provided by nurses. According to Medicare, the institution pays a hundred and sixty dollars a day for standard care and a thousand dollars a day for crisis care.

In another case, Vitas over-billed for crisis care for a patient who had shortness of breath, making an extra nine thousand dollars over nine days. In another example, according to the lawsuit, Vitas allegedly billed Medicare for sixteen thousand dollars in crisis care for a woman who suffered from forgetfulness. In 2002, Vitas collected two billion dollars in crisis care, which is double the combined amount of all other hospices that year.

Four years earlier to the Vitas lawsuit, a number of smaller hospices had been forced to pay a total of eighty eight million dollars to Medicare for over-billing. Another lawsuit by Medicare, against Hospice of the Comforter, amounted to a settlement of eleven million dollars due to false billings.

For further information and statistics, visit:

Is your loved one being adequately hydrated in the nursing home?

Posted in Dehydration

Hydration in the Nursing HomeNext to oxygen, water is the most important building block for sustainable life makes up most of our bodies. Our blood is comprised mostly of water and our brain and muscles are made up of a high concentration of it as well. When we get older, however, we lose much of our water weight and are much more prone to dehydration. It is for this reason that those who care for our loved ones pay close attention to the signs of dehydration and to make proper provisions to keep them hydrated.

The Natural Risk of Dehydration in the Elderly

The average elderly person’s body may contain up to seven liters less water than a younger person. Because of this stark difference, the elderly are at an automatic risk of being dehydrated and to exacerbate the situation is the fact that many older people may not even feel the symptoms of dehydration until it becomes a severe problem. Some elderly patients may even refuse to drink more fluids out of the false fear that it will require them to make more trips to the restroom if they drink too much. The result is a series of sudden and swift symptoms that can be life threatening.

Symptoms of Dehydration

If a patient is suddenly confused and does not have a history of dementia or other mental illness, the confusion is most likely an early symptom of dehydration. Dehydrated patients will show decreased blood pressure and an increased pulse and weight loss usually accompanies improper hydration. An oral exam will show a dry mouth and tongue, which is a common side effect of many medications— causing many caregivers to overlook this symptom. A patient’s bowel movements can provide telltale signs of dehydration as well— diarrhea usually precedes dehydration and constipation can be a sign of dehydration while the concentration of the patient’s urine can also reveal whether or not the person is hydrated properly.

Prevention

Dehydration can be a symptom of a greater medical problem, but in many cases it can be prevented by making sure that the patient has access to plenty of fluids and recognizing the early symptoms of dehydration in order to treat it quickly and effectively. The following steps may reduce the number elderly patients who suffer from dehydration.

  • Observe the amount of fluid intake for each patient and recognize whether the patient is drinking enough fluid
  • Perform regular oral checks for cracked lips or dry mouth and tongue
  • Check for dark urine— a common sign of dehydration
  • Review whether the patient’s medications may impact hydration
  • Leave plenty of water within the patient’s reach so that the patient may help him or herself to as much fluid as possible
  • Offer a variety of fluids in order to encourage patients to drink more
  • Make sure patients consume fluids during and between each meal
  • Provide water bottles to patients that can be carried around when the patients leave their rooms
  • Establish a protocol for how to respond to early symptoms of dehydration in order to prevent serious complications

Education

Dehydration can be prevented through the proper education of nursing home staff, family members and the patients themselves. If patients are aware of the importance of hydration, they will be more prone to drink more fluids and if the staff that cares for them know what signs to watch for, early detection of dehydration is possible in order to prevent serious conditions that can result. If the family is aware of the dangerous of dehydration, family members will also be able to notice any signs of improper hydration and alert nursing home staff in order to address the problem.

Relationship Between Dehydration and Episodes of Nursing Home Negligence

Water is an essential part of life and is just as important as the oxygen that we breathe. By making sure that our loved ones are properly hydrated, we will add years to their lives and prevent illnesses and falls that are directly related to hydration. If you notice that your loved one exhibits signs of dehydration, be sure that nursing home staff are aware of the situation and investigate whether or not proper means are being met to ensure that your family member is being properly hydrated.

When dehydration has contributed to a medical complication, such as a bed sore, the nursing home patient can pursue a nursing home abuse lawsuit to help in providing for both the money needed for medical care and additional funds to compensate the individual for their intangible losses such as pain and suffering and disability.

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Why are Nursing Homes Afraid of the Judicial System?

Posted in Litigation

Judicial System OperationA Canadian nursing home chain, Extendicare, has decided to do business anywhere but in Kentucky, where it just leased all 21 of its facilities to another company. The decision was made after the company failed to sway the Kentucky legislature to pass a measure into law that would make it more difficult to sue nursing homes for negligence and neglect. Some people see the action as evidence that Extendicare officials are aware of its own wrongdoing and have pulled the company out of the state in order to avoid being it being held accountable for its actions.

Previous Incident

In 2008, three nurse’s aides were involved in the abuse of a nursing home patient in a facility that was owned by Extendicare at the time. The incident was caught by the placement of a hidden camera and the defendants received diverted sentences for their crimes by 2010. Since the incident, Extendicare has shown a greater interest in politics— by attempting to persuade lawmakers to make it more difficult for the abused and neglected to file lawsuits against nursing homes.

Undue Risk Exposure?

The decision to pull out of the state of Kentucky was reported to have been part of the company’s strategy to do away with operations that impeded its growth or created undue risk exposure. This statement pointed to the ability to be sued for the failure to provide standard care as an exposure to risk. The point was made by the founder of Kentuckians for Nursing Home Reform, Bernie Vonderheide, that the risk of being sued would not be an issue of concern if nursing facilities provided the care that patients both deserve and pay for.

Extendicare has fought back, saying that Kentucky has become a state that targets large for-profit nursing home chains with litigation because those chains have more assets from which plaintiffs can collect if they are awarded damages. The claim that for-profit nursing homes are being targeted specifically might be substantiated, but for all the wrong reasons. For-profit skilled nursing facilities have been found to provide significantly worse quality of care than their not-for-profit counterparts.

Not a Loss

Advocates of nursing home reform are relieved to see Extendicare go and have no intention to make the company feel welcomed in the state of Kentucky again. Anytime a company makes an attempt to have legislation written that looks after its own interests, it makes people suspect that the company has something to hide. Extendicare may be fully aware of potential lawsuits that may be brought against it due to neglect or abuse.

The idea has been brought up that other nursing home chains will leave the state as well if it is too easy to sue them for improper care or negligence. Each time it is brought up, however, the retort by nursing home reform advocates is the same. Let them leave— if they really looked out for the best interests of our loved ones, really provided quality care that they could stand by and really took the proper measures to prevent abuse and neglect in their facilities then they would have no reason to fear being sued.

If you have a loved one who was mistreated at an Extendicare facility, inside or outside the state of Kentucky, our nursing home lawyers are interested in discussing your legal options with you.  Our legal consultations are free and there is never an obligation to use our office for your case.

For additional information on Kentucky nursing homes look here.

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Nursing Home Slapped With Huge Verdict After They Fail To Summon Medical Care for Patient

Posted in Litigation

Nursing Home Verdict against Nursing HomeElderly people who have succumbed to a disease or illness are vulnerable and frail. They are in a very precarious state, where the slightest aggravation to their body can cause severe health damage. Family members are usually not equipped with the expertise and resources to care for their ill loved ones, so they decide to admit their elderly family members in nursing homes.

When an elderly individual is admitted to a nursing home, family members are assured that their loved ones will be taken care of. The nursing home staff guarantees optimal care and tells the family members not to worry. However, once the family members leave, the situation becomes quite different.

The Reality of Nursing Homes

Nursing homes are increasingly suffering lack of resources, lack of staff and most importantly, a lack of expertise. Many workers do not have the training required to care for their elderly patients in the best possible manner. At other times, resources and equipment are at such a low, that the health of the elderly patients is compromised.

Unfortunately, not only the resources and materials are lacking in nursing homes. One of the biggest problems is when the staff of nursing homes does not care for its patients. Many residents have been neglected for days, their pains are waved off as ‘nothing serious’ and their issues are never resolved.

Arkansas Nursing Home Death

An example of the lack of care and professionalism found in nursing homes today is the case of the death of a 76 year old in an Arkansas nursing home. Staff failed to take the elderly patient to the emergency room even after she was complaining of severe abdominal pain. Staff communicated via fax messages to send the elderly patient to the emergency room and the fax was ignored. The patient died a day after complaining of the severe pain.

Overworked and Unprofessional Staff

Such instances are occurring in one too many nursing homes. The staff is overworked and this leads to lack of care with the patients. Neglect of elderly patients is not acceptable, as any small issue must be taken into account right away.

Many nursing home staff members have also become unprofessional and are merely completing their work for the day, with the least amount of effort possible. This leads to many oversights and patients are left untreated for days before getting adequate care.

Nursing Homes and the Law

Fortunately, the law is taking an important step in assessing this matter. Families of loved ones who have died or have been severely injured due to the lack of care of nursing home staff are appealing to the courts for compensation and justice. The family of the 76-year-old Arkansas woman was awarded a substantial amount for the pain and suffering their mother went through before she died. Legal advisors are available for families who wish to fight back against unprofessional nursing homes.

There should be no room for lack of care or management in nursing homes. The lives of patients are at stake and the slightest neglect or miscommunication, such as what happened in the Arkansans nursing home, can become a matter of life and death.

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Nursing Home Scrutinized Over the Way They Handle Post-Fall Care of Patient

Posted in Nursing Home Falls

Post Fall Care and Nursing HomesNursing homes were considered a safe haven for the elderly and people did not hesitate in sending their loved ones to nursing homes in the past. However, the scenario has changed to a great extent. What was once a safe and secure haven has now become a dangerous place. Nursing homes have been severely criticized for their patient care and services, especially for the way the staff handles patients after they experience a serious fall. The nurses and other staff members fail to take notice of the patients if they fall from a height and do not report the incident on time to the doctors. This often results in the death of the patient and the authorities of the nursing home are left with nothing to say.

Statistics of fall in Nursing Homes

Cases of patients falling in nursing homes are escalating at an increasing speed every year. Around 1800 elderly patients inhabiting different nursing homes die every year due to grave injuries that result from falling on the floor. Around 10%-20% of all the falls result in stern injuries; these injuries include fractures in the leg, hip and serious brain injuries that often lead to brain disorders. Fractures account for about 2%-6% of the total injuries that are reported.

In the year 2003, around 1.5 million aged 65 and above lived in nursing homes, and about 20% of the deaths reported that year were due to harsh falls. Nursing homes with about a hundred beds report approximately 100-200 falls each year. Almost half of all patients living in nursing homes at least fall once a year; some even fall twice or thrice per year. These falls hamper the patient’s quality of life and often make him irritable, depressed and helpless.

A Case of Poor Post-Fall Care of Patients

On 14 February 2013, a female patient was admitted to the Westchester Manor at Providence Place in High Point after experiencing a stroke; she was also suffering from dementia. Her name has not been identified yet. The woman fell in her room on 14 March 2013; she was trying to go to the bathroom and as she was not assisted by a nurse, she could not handle herself properly and fell on the floor. She was found by a nurse a little while later, who didn’t report that incident to a doctor immediately.

A few days following her sudden fall, the patient was evaluated. The nurses started noticing changes in her including anxiety and nervousness, which is why she was taken to a hospital on 23 March. Her brain was scanned in the hospital and the scan revealed that she had a subdural hematoma that made her brain shift in a manner that exerted a lot of pressure on the brain’s stem. She stayed in the hospital for some days and eventually passed away on 28 March 2013. Had the woman been assisted by a nurse while was going to the bathroom or if the nurse had reported her fall to a qualified doctor on time, the woman could have been with her family right now.

The CEO of Providence Place, Tom Higgs stated that the nursing home is known for providing excellent patient care since a long time and he believes that there are two sides to this story. No matter what Higgs says, people will be hesitant in leaving their loved ones in this nursing home now.

Why Nursing Home have Poor Post-Fall Care?

The staff members including the nurses have a habit of wandering aimlessly and skipping their duties, which is why patients are often left unattended, and when they are unattended, they start doing things on their own and eventually end up falling. Secondly, nurses often do not read the patient’s charts after falls and do not report the fall to the concerned doctor on time; this careless attitude aggravates the injuries of the patients and results in their death.

 

Medications Used to Control Pain in Elderly Nursing Home Patients Can Be Fatal If Not Properly Monitored

Posted in Medication Errors

Pain Control in Elderly with Medicine Can Be FatalPeople nowadays are tentative to send their dear ones to a nursing home for treatment and care. A major reason behind this hesitancy is the prevalence of careless attitudes and poor services that exist in the nursing homes nowadays. One of the commonly experienced issues is not giving the right medications to patients or not monitoring those medications.

This results in the death of the patients in the majority of the cases and tarnishes the reputation of the nursing homes. There have been a huge number of cases where nurses did not keep a watch on the medicines being given to the patients and either gave them an overdose or an under dose of their medications; both these measures prove to be fatal for the patients.

One of the most serious and commonly occurring nursing home abuses is not supervising the medications given to patients; nurses are often reported to either have given the wrong medicine to patients or giving them an incorrect dose of the right medicine. The majority of the patients admitted to the nursing homes are suffering from one of these chronic diseases: cancer, stroke, heart disorders, diabetes, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and in all of these conditions, the patients are prescribed drugs to improve their health.

However, the staff at nursing homes frequently makes mistakes while handling the medications of the patients living there and does not correctly monitor the medications given to patients. There have been cases in which the nurses mixed up the drugs and gave high blood pressure medications to a diabetic patient.

Statistics of Giving the Wrong Medication to Patients

A study shows that around 7 out of 10 patients living in health care facilities suffer from errors made in prescriptions or are given incorrect medicine. Approximately 69.5% of all people residing in nursing homes have been the victim of wrong medication or incorrect dosage. Nurses do not read the prescriptions correctly and hastily administer medications to the patients that often prove to be fatal. In another study, 178 out of the 256 patients living in a nursing home had been the victim of medication blunders. During 2010, around 60% of the 38,329 deaths that took place in nursing homes in the U.S. were due to incorrect prescription drugs. The death rate due to an overdose of painkillers was around 415% in women and 265% in men during 2010.

There are numerous reasons why these episodes take place. First, a lot of the staff does not have sufficient knowledge of different medicines. Secondly, many of the nurses do not know what medicine needs to be given with food and what medicines are supposed to be taken on an empty stomach. Third, many nurses are unable to read the doctor’s handwriting and confuse one drug with some other. Fourth, the staff often does not pay attention to the prescription and reads it in a hurry, which is why the end up making such serious mistakes.

Nurse Found Guilty of Administering Wrong Medication to Patient

In July 2010, a case was reported in Florida in which the nurse administered the wrong medication to a 79-year-old man. Richard Smith suffered from kidney disorder and was admitted to a health care facility. The next day, Smith complained of a pain in his stomach so the doctor prescribed him an antacid. When Smith’s son came to visit him the next day, he found his father lying unconscious in the room. It was then discovered that the nurse in charge had given Smith wrong medicine that caused Smith to go into severe respiratory arrest. Instead of an antacid, the nurse had administered Pancuronium to Smith; this medicine is normally used in strong and lethal injections. The Smith family is now planning to sue the nurse.

Tips For Preventing Nursing Home Abuse

Posted in Broken Bones

How Do You Prevent Nursing Home AbuseWhen a family makes the difficult decision to place their loved one in the care of a nursing home, they hope the provided caregivers will be as loving and responsible as possible. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Many elders are abused in nursing homes due to their age and physical frailty. Often, this abuse is in the form of neglect. In order to make sure your family doesn’t fall prey to nursing home abuse, look for the 5 warning signs below.

Look For Bruises, Pressure Marks, And Broken Bones

In the unfortunate event that physical violence is being used against the elderly, there will often be a mark. One place to look is one the wrists and ankles to determine if unnecessary confinements are being used. Anytime your elderly family encounters a broken bone, make sure to fully understand what happened to ensure it was not abuse such as hitting or shoving that led to it.

Document Changes In Behavior

When your family member suddenly becomes sullen, or doesn’t participate in their favorite activities anymore, it could be a sign they are suffering from abuse. Keep an eye out for depression as well.

Keep An Eye On Finances

Another form of elder abuse is financially duping those who aren’t coherent enough to understand. Make sure to keep a tight lid on your family member’s finances to make sure they are not being exploited.

Watch For Bedsores And Weight Loss

If your family member is confined to their bed, one sign they are being neglected is the appearance of bedsores and poor hygiene. There are ways to prevent bedsores, and a well cared for person should not develop them. Additionally, weight loss in a person who is still eating can be a sign that their food is not being delivered to them on a regular basis.

Listen To Your Family Member

If you hear that your family member is being belittled or threatened, don’t write it off to old age. Instead, make a point of investigating their claim to make sure it is a fallacy and not a sign of elder abuse.

Growing old is hard enough on a family without dealing with the fall out of nursing home abuse. Make sure to use these warning signs to keep your family safe.

Determining When or If to Take Legal Action

If you feel like your family member has been mistreated or abused, you may be entitled to pursue legal action on their behalf.  A law firm that handles nursing home negligence cases can evaluate your case and explain your legal recourse in the applicable laws.

Poor Communication Alleged in Nursing Home Patient’s Death

Posted in Medication Errors

Death of a Nursing Home Patient due to Poor CommunicationNursing home care is often adversely affected due to poor communication. Open communication channels between hospitals, nursing assistants, nurses in charge, directors and administrators, and other staff is the key to keeping problems from becoming too serious.

Most nurses in nursing homes rely almost entirely upon discharge information provided by the hospital when transitioning patients in nursing home care. Multiple problems and inadequacies arise in the communication of such information to nursing home staff. According to nursing home staff, problems regularly arise with medication in the lack of necessary prescriptions, they are provided with limited or no medical history, and sometimes the wrong information is provided regarding the current health status of patients.

Due to miscommunication between hospitals and nursing homes, nursing home staff reports that they have to consistently make phone calls for clarifications about medical history and medication, deal with increased nursing staff stress and thus lower quality of care, and suffer delays in providing medication. This further leads to the frustration of individual residents and family members, resulting in a negative image of the nursing home and further leading to the re-hospitalization of some patients. Hence, according to nursing home staff, the main barrier to effective transitions to nursing home care was miscommunication.

Incidence of Miscommunication

A recent story emerged regarding a Wood River based nursing home, in which the home was held responsible for the demise of a resident after a surgery and a lawsuit was filed. The lawsuit was filed against SA-Enc VIP Manor LLC. and Brenda Schneedle, administrator of the estate of Nellie Petrokovich, was the one who filed the suit.

Petrokovich had colon surgery in May 2011 at St. Anthony’s Hospital. Following the surgery, she was shifted to VIP Manor a month later, in a condition regarded as stable. According to Petrokovich’s family, she was said to be under the care of a Dr. Gray and a nurse Steib at the nursing home.

According to the lawsuit, the doctors ordered blood work for Petrokovich. Furthermore, the results were sent to the home via fax. The results of the blood test allegedly revealed that sodium levels in Petrokovich’s blood were very low. However, according to nursing home records, the staff did not receive the fax and were not given any physician’s orders regarding medical care for the patient.

As with all patients with low blood sodium levels, Petrokovich soon started showing signs of swelling in different parts of her body, including her arms, legs, feet and her face in the days following the results. She was subsequently moved to St. Anthony’s emergency room for treatment and released a couple of days later, after which she moved back to the nursing home. The nursing home staff noticed that the patient was experiencing shortness of breath, her speech was slurred, and she seemed very confused, due to which they moved her back to St. Anthony’s Hospital. Doctors at the hospital diagnosed her with congestive pulmonary failure and respiratory distress, and she died eight days later under their care.

The blame, according to the family, lies with the owners and nursing staff of VIP Manor, the nursing home, for failing to take measures to improve Petrokovich’s condition or prevent her death. They are also being sued for violation of Illinois’ Nursing Home Care Act. Schneedle, Petrokovich’s daughter, has sued for an amount of money in damages and court costs.

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