Zevan and Davidson Law Firm Articles Hospital Refuses To Report Nursing Home Abuse

Hospital Refuses To Report Nursing Home Abuse

By David Zevan  Jul. 5, 2013 2:45p

In order to minimize and eradicate elder abuse, people who come into contact with the elderly on a regular basis need to be attuned to recognizing the signs of abuse. Abuse often goes unreported because victims cannot advocate for themselves in many instances, or they try and people fail to listen. Unfortunately, in some cases, people die before anyone takes notice of the abuse.

Suggestions for keeping the elderly safe and well-cared for involve training anyone who comes into contact with the elderly, to identify signs of elder abuse so that they can report it. If more people know what to look for, more cases will be reported and investigated, and more elderly patients will be protected.

This sounds simple, however, identifying abuse is not always easy, especially when the abuse is happening in a nursing home. The problem is that many instances of abuse are not identified until the problem becomes severe enough that the patient needs to be transported to the hospital for treatment. For example, bedsores are a sign of abuse because bedsores are avoided by providing nursing home residents with proper care and treatment. When residents are neglected, however, bedsores can develop quickly, and can become very serious.

It is imperative that hospital staff recognize and report suspected abuse so that residents who do recover after being treated at a hospital do not return to a nursing home where they will only be subjected to further abuse, mistreatment, and neglect.

Consider one shocking example involving a hospital on the East Coast. The hospital refused to report suspected abuse. One resident was taken to the hospital to be treated after developing a serious urinary tract infection. The infection was caused by caregivers failing to clean equipment thoroughly. The resident suffered from other conditions that would also seem to indicate that neglect was occurring at the nursing home. Yet, even though reporting abuse is required by law, the hospital claimed they did not have to report any incidents of abuse that did not happen at the hospital.

The hospital staff was misinformed. Many states have mandatory reporting laws, the scope of which extends to all abuses. When the doctor was asked to report the abuse, he also refused. This doctor worked at the same nursing home where the patient lived, as well as at the hospital where the patient was being treated. His refusal to report the abuse seems to indicate that he knew he should have reported or noticed the abuse at the nursing home sooner, and he feared getting in trouble for reporting the abuse so late in the game.

The elderly have few advocates as it is. Many elderly patients are unable to advocate for themselves due to dementia, alzheimers, or other conditions. Having caregivers who are attuned to their needs and provide the best possible care is very important.

It is truly tragic when an opportunity to report abuse and protect the elderly is missed. If you or a loved one has experienced nursing home abuse, contact the nursing home abuse attorneys at the Zevan and Davidson Law Firm. We will fight to defend the rights of you and your family and get you the justice you deserve.

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