Representing Victims of Nursing Home Abuse in and around Charleston, South Carolina
Nursing home abuse can take a variety of forms. In some cases, it may involve a nursing home or nursing home employee’s failure to adequately respond to all of a patient’s medical needs and concerns. In other cases, it may involve a nursing home employee physically or verbally abusing a nursing home patient.
Nursing home abuse can also arise in the context of negligence, such as by failing to adequately treat a patient for a disease or infection—or by failing to prevent an infection from occurring in the first place. Nursing homes, like hospitals, are very confining. Consequently, diseases and infections run rampant in these spaces where elderly patients often have compromised immune systems anyway. Many of these infections are preventable through proper maintenance and sanitation. When nursing home staff does not take the proper precautions and measures to prevent and treat patient infections, serious consequences can result.
Nursing home abuse in the form of untreated infections comes up in the context of medical malpractice. Medical malpractice basically means that a healthcare provider or facility does something that it should not have done, or fails to do something that it should have done. Nursing homes owe their patients a duty to ensure that the facility is clean and properly maintained at all times. Moreover, nursing home healthcare providers owe a duty to protect patients against disease and infection and to properly treat a disease or infection. When nursing homes and their healthcare providers fail in this regard, the injured patient (or the patient’s representative) may be able to file a claim for medical malpractice against the negligent nursing home and/or the healthcare provider.
People rely on nursing homes to take good care of their loved ones when they are incapacitated and cannot properly care for themselves. The experienced medical malpractice lawyers at The Hughey Law Firm understand the pain and frustration that accompanies instances of nursing home negligence and abuse. Our knowledgeable attorneys can review your case with you and may be able to pursue a claim or lawsuit on your behalf.
Types of Nursing Home Infections
Due to the confined spaces and lowered immune system responses from patients, disease and infection are common in the hospital and nursing home settings. The most common infections in nursing homes include:
- Urinary tract infections (UTI’s) – These infections often arise when nursing home employees do not practice proper patient hygiene or do not properly sterilize or insert catheters in patients. A UTI can also lead to a patient’s untimely death.
- Scabies – Scabies is a type of skin infection that occurs when a very small mite bites the patient. The bite causes a series of reactions in the patient’s body and has the potential to spread throughout the body very quickly and easily. Scabies usually occurs when nursing home employees do not practice proper patient hygiene, such as by not bathing patients on a regular basis.
- Influenza – Given the confined setting of a nursing home, the flu and the common cold can spread easily. Proper sanitation procedures and cleanliness can help to prevent the spread of the flu virus in a nursing home. The flu or common cold can be fatal to some nursing home residents because of their already deficient immune systems.
In addition to poor nursing home hygiene, other common causes of infection in nursing homes include short staffing and improper staff training protocols. If you suspect that your loved one contracted a serious infection while residing at a nursing home, the attorneys at the Hughey Law Firm may be able to file a claim or lawsuit directly against the nursing home or its staff.
What Makes Nursing Home Infections so Serious
Infections which occur in the nursing home context are often much more serious than those contracted outside a nursing home, for the following reasons:
- Infections spread easily in nursing homes – Due to the confined setting of a nursing home, infections have a greater opportunity to spread to other residents, potentially causing a more serious infection or death.
- Unsanitary nursing home conditions sometimes go undetected – In many cases, visiting relatives of nursing home residents do not come by on a daily basis. More commonly, relatives only visit once or twice a week or on holidays. Consequently, no one makes sure that the patient’s room is sanitary and well-maintained. Moreover, some nursing home residents develop dementia and cannot care for themselves. When unsanitary conditions go undetected, they can lead to serious infections.
- Infections can become generalized – When elderly nursing home patients contract an infection, the infection has the potential to become generalized. This means that even though the infection starts at a remote place in or on the body, it can easily spread to other bodily organs or body parts, leading to a more serious infection or death.
Filing an Infection Lawsuit
If you or a loved one has suffered from an untreated infection while residing in a nursing home, you may be able to file a claim or lawsuit against the nursing home directly—or against a negligent nursing home employee. In order to prove medical negligence or malpractice, you will need to show that the nursing home and/or its employee acted unreasonably under the circumstances and that consequently, you or your loved one suffered from an infection and other damages. Moreover, you must be able to show that the damages from which you suffered directly resulted from the nursing home’s negligence.
Call a Charleston Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Today to Discuss Your Legal Options
If you or your loved one resided in a nursing home and suffered from an untreated infection, you may have a claim for monetary compensation under the law. The experienced medical malpractice attorneys at the Hughey Law Firm may be able to file a claim or lawsuit against the negligent nursing home or nursing home employee and fight for your right to monetary recovery in your case.
To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a Charleston medical malpractice lawyer, please call us at (843) 881-8644, or contact us online today.