Coping with the death of a loved one is difficult under any circumstance. Knowing that the death could have been prevented only intensifies the already painful emotions associated with the grieving process.
Having lawyers on your side who are also doctors provides you the advantage of being represented by someone who has knowledge and experience in the medical field and can understand autopsies, medical reports, and medication directions.
When your loved one requires assisted living or nursing home care, you should not have to worry that their personal safety and well-being might be jeopardized by their care providers. However, as statistics continue to demonstrate, the number of nursing home wrongful deaths caused by abuse and neglect are on the rise.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, it is estimated that 30% of all nursing facilities are cited for instances of abuse each year. What is even more disturbing is that for every case that is reported, there are at least five cases that go unreported.
If you have lost a loved one due to nursing home abuse and neglect, you should consult an experienced nursing home abuse and neglect attorney right away to explore your legal options. We are lawyers who are doctors and understand the difficult medical issues that accompany nursing home wrongful death cases. We have experienced patient suffering first hand and are able to empathize with what you and your loved ones are facing during this traumatic time.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death in Nursing Homes
Proving that a nursing home employee is directly responsible for the death of a loved one is often difficult. It is not uncommon for nursing home professionals to attempt to cover up mistakes. Unfortunately, many of them have and continue to get away with, such dishonesty. We cannot stress enough the importance of finding out if an autopsy is necessary; an autopsy will provide you and your attorneys with a clear explanation of what caused your loved one's death. Some of the more common causes of nursing home-related wrongful death include:
- Bed sores
- Malnutrition and dehydration
- Wandering or leaving the premises
- Excessive or otherwise improper use of chemical or physical restraints
- Medication errors
The Decision to Have an Autopsy
If you suspect your loved one's nursing home death is a result of abuse and neglect, it is important that you immediately consult with a nursing home abuse lawyer to determine if an autopsy is necessary in your case. You may think the cause of death is clear. Do not make that assumption. In some nursing home deaths, an autopsy may be vital to the success of your case; however, in other cases, an autopsy may be an unnecessary expense and could actually harm your case if not performed properly. The decision as to whether or not to have an autopsy performed must be made by your nursing home abuse attorney as each case is unique.
Nursing home neglect and abuse cases are vigorously defended by nursing homes and their insurance companies. Loved ones in nursing homes often have complicated medical conditions. The nursing home lawyers will do all they can to argue your loved one died as a result of natural causes.
The detailed findings that an autopsy produces will provide the family some insight into what may have actually caused the death of your loved one. If the death was not caused by cardiac arrest, cancer, or some other medical condition with which they suffered, then a more suspicious cause may be the reason for their death. Only an autopsy can provide you with a clear and accurate explanation as to why your loved one died, but as stated above, autopsies may not always be indicated.
If an autopsy is indicated, it is recommended that it be performed at a facility other than the one where the patient died. The selection of the physician who performs the autopsy can be critical. Some physicians have a significant bias in favor of health care providers and will not give objective conclusions.
Find out how to go about:
- Choosing a Nursing Home Wrongful Death Lawyer
- Nursing Home Wrongful Death Questions
- Nursing Home Abuse
- Who can file a wrongful death
If you live in the Arizona area, have lost a loved one, and suspect a nursing home wrongful death caused by nursing home abuse or neglect, please contact the experienced nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys, with extensive medical backgrounds, at Cullan & Cullan today to schedule a confidential, no-cost consultation.