Nursing home neglect is a serious problem. The coronavirus pandemic peak hit New York this past April. At the time nursing homes were being afforded legal immunity from the threat of negligence and malpractice litigation. Recently, many of the protections were lifted.Thus, nursing homes will remain accountable for failing to provide proper care or a safe environment for its residents.
In today's Sunday New York Times, the focus of a lengthy editorial was on the pressing issue of keeping nursing homes accountable. A lawsuit filed by the children of Jose Velasquez, a 79 year old father who tested positive for the virus on March 26 and died on April 17 in Texas claimed the home had failed Mr. Velasquez in many serious ways. The failures included not providing proper medications, transferring him to a hospital when he was deteriorating medically or warning his family members he was ill. Allegedly, the facility even told family hours before his death he was fine. This is egregious and its no doubt the family is upset and bringing the nursing home to court.
The immunity afforded nursing homes was for a brief period of time when NY state was in the throes of crisis. Failures on the part of nursing homes to deliver proper care before the immunity hit, as well as failures from the point of the recent lifting of immunity into the future are the point of this writing. Many facilities had and still have: poor safety records, under-staffing issues, inability to maintain basic infection control, inability to heed local guidelines and rules, poor use of proper personal protective equipment, no routine testing of staff, systemic issues of placing profit over proper care, insufficient emergency response plans, poor training for staff and more.
At the time of this writing, for profit nursing homes and the like are spending trillions of dollars to lobby and obtain more aid and favorable laws and policies. As our population ages, having safe facilities for long term care is all the more pressing of a concern. Litigation or even the threat of litigation will keep them accountable for the delivery of care. This is a step in the right direction that we can all applaud.
The generation which took care of us needs us to take care of them. It is never an easy choice to place a loved one in a nursing home. We have the compassion and skills to get you and your family the justice you seek and deserve. If a nursing home has failed you and your family, litigation is certainly an option. Not only will it provide some level of justice for you and your family it will help keep these institutions safe
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