Coronavirus Nursing Home Lawsuit: Suing a Nursing Home in a COVID-19 Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is reaching pandemic levels and disproportionately affecting elderly patients. In most frail nursing home residents, corona virus can be lethal. Our nursing home neglect attorneys explain coronavirus prevention, corona virus detection, as well as liability stemming from a nursing home coronavirus wrongful death. A coronavirus nursing home lawsuit can help your family achieve justice for the death of a loved one.
Senior Justice Law Firm can assist your family in seeking justice through a coronavirus lawsuit against a nursing home or assisted living facility. A COVID19 nursing home lawsuit can hold the negligent facility accountable for neglecting your loved one.
- If your loved one became ill or suffered a wrongful death due to COVID-19 in a long term care facility, call Senior Justice Law Firm today at 1-888-375-9998 for a free coronavirus case consultation. Our caring and compassionate elder abuse attorneys can assist you in answering your coronavirus lawsuit questions.
Understanding Legal Liability in the Aftermath of a Coronavirus Nursing Home Wrongful Death
Coronavirus has taken the world by surprise. However, nursing homes and assisted living facilities are legally required to prepare for infection outbreak, both on a micro, and macro level.
Shockingly, our nursing home negligence attorneys are receiving calls reporting that long term care facilities are running low on antibacterial hand soap and protective face masks. Other callers are reporting that the skilled nursing facility housing their parent is operating with only 50% of the staff-members needed to provide the appropriate level of resident care.
On an individual patient level, we are receiving potential client calls about delayed treatment, ignoring residents with fever and cough, and the nursing home failing to send a symptomatic patient out to the hospital for care.
The coronavirus outbreak in nursing homes is obviously an unprecedented event. Yet it is clear that certain facilities are woefully unprepared to follow state and federal regulations regarding infection control. These failures to prepare for containment of infectious disease are grounds for a coronavirus lawsuit against the nursing home or assisted living facility corporation.
Preventing Corona Virus in Nursing Homes:
A Facility’s Legal Duty to Stop the Spread of Coronavirus
Although particularly lethal in elderly patients, Corona Virus prevention is not much different from preventing the flu. Frequent hand washing, healthy eating and avoiding touching your eyes, mouth and nose are all common sense preventative methods.
However, when analyzing Coronavirus outbreaks in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, there are additional preventative measures that the facility must put in place.
Following infection control protocol is the legal obligation of the nursing home. Failing to implement appropriate coronavirus prevention methods may result in a coronavirus lawsuit against the negligent nursing home or assisted living facility.
Below are some of the coronavirus preventative techniques a long term care facility should employ.
Frequent Disinfecting of Surfaces and Objects
Nursing homes house sick people. Many short term rehab residents are cycling in and out from acute care hospitals. Disease, including Corona Virus, is rampant in skilled nursing facilities. We know surfaces are dirty inside nursing homes. It is for this reason that nursing home staff must regularly use cleaning sprays, disinfectants and wipes on all tables, chairs and surfaces. Failing to do this may constitute nursing home negligence.
Nursing Home Staff Should Wear Masks and Gloves
It is inevitable that coronavirus will spread into American nursing homes. The virus is now confirmed in all 50 states and has already killed long term care facility residents in 20 states. COVID-19 can be spread by infected residents, as well as facility staff.
The CDC recommends that all healthcare workers in nursing homes wear a face mask and gloves to prevent the spread of coronavirus. This is a cheap and easy way to stop the disease from infecting other vulnerable nursing home residents. If the corporate owners of the facility fail to provide appropriate masks and gloves to nurses, this is grounds for a coronavirus lawsuit against the nursing home.
Isolating Residents with Coronavirus
One of the biggest mistakes a nursing home can make is failing to quickly isolate a patient that is suspected of having coronavirus. Although it may seem cruel, isolation and quarantine is the appropriate action when coronavirus is a potential diagnosis.
If a patient is showing signs of fever, cough and shortness of breath, coronavirus should be on the differential diagnosis list. In order to prevent the spread of corona virus throughout the nursing facility, staff should follow the facility’s policy on isolation of residents with infectious disease.
Failing to isolate contagious patients is a form of nursing home negligence. The result is the spread of the illness.
Restricting Visitors, Vendors, Caretakers and Screening Essential Personnel for COVID19
As per the 8-4-2020 update to the federal guidelines on COVID-19 prevention in nursing homes, facilities must prohibit all non-essential visitors and greatly restrict outside healthcare practitioners, like hospice, visiting physicians, EMS workers and dialysis personnel. Additionally, any infected patients must be isolated in the nursing home or sent to an acute care hospital.
Anyone with a cough, fever or COVID symptoms must not be allowed to enter the facility. This includes healthcare workers and facility staff. If a nurse or aide is sick, they must stay home.
Additionally, group gatherings like meals in the dining hall, religious services, facility social groups and music / activities are strictly prohibited. Residents must remain isolated and away from other residents, regardless of their symptoms.
Complying with Federal Regulations to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19
Federal nursing home regulations mandate the facility employ and follow an Infection Control Program. This means each individual facility must:
- investigate, control and prevent infections in the facility;
- isolate potential carriers of infection, like COVID-19;
- prohibit employees with infectious disease from coming in contact with residents, their food, or their linens; and,
- maintain a record of infection control incidents and preventative actions taken, related to infection control.
When investigating a potential COVID-19 lawsuit against a nursing home, our attorneys request a copy of this infection control record. This document should contain not only potential coronavirus incidents, but more importantly, the steps taken to prevent the further spread of the disease. Our retained infectious disease expert then compares the facility response to the applicable standard of care. This is how our lawyers determine if the appropriate efforts were made to stop coronavirus in the nursing home or ALF.
Early Detection of Nursing Home Corona Virus
The deadly impact of COVID-19 on immunocompromised seniors is devastating. Many of the 100,000+ global deaths from coronavirus were in elderly patients with other underlying health conditions. Sadly, this means the most vulnerable patient population in the U.S. is long term care residents.
Early detection of corona virus in the nursing home is critical. If we know who has it, we can get that patient treatment to get them healthy. Also, we can get that patient isolated to prevent the spread of the infection to other residents.
When a healthcare practitioner suspects a patient may suffer from two diseases, they include both these possible illnesses as as differential diagnoses. The standard of care dictates that until you can rule out the more serious illness, you must treat the patient as if they have it.
Following this logic, if a nursing home resident is exhibiting corona-like symptoms (cough, fever, shortness of breath), the staff must rule out COVID-19 before it is too late.
States with High Nursing Home COVID-19 Rates
As of August 2020, the following states have acutely high COVID-19 numbers in skilled nursing facilities:
- New York (particularly in the NYC metro area)
- New Jersey
- Illinois (particularly in the Chicago area)
- California, predominantly in Southern California
Some of these states have enacted varying degrees of legal immunity for nursing homes that allow residents to die from COVID19. This is a dangerous precedent, as the nursing home industry has consistently failed to follow state and federal regulations in the past. We can expect no change during the coronavirus epidemic. In fact, a recent Washington Post article details how some nursing home chains are exploiting the coronavirus and are under investigation for misusing millions of federal taxpayer dollars to profit.
If you fear that your state has passed some form of nursing home coronavirus immunity measure, do not give up the fight. These executive orders are being challenged in the courts and some state legislatures are passing laws greatly reducing civil nursing home immunity’s impact. Speak with an attorney before you decide to forfeit your legal rights pertaining to a nursing home COVID case.
Corona Virus Wrongful Death Lawsuit vs. the Nursing Home
Tragically, policies and procedures on infection containment will be disregarded. Nursing home residents with cough, fever and other COVID symptoms will be ignored and not get the critical hospital treatment they need to stay alive. COVID positive patients will be allowed to contaminate other healthy residents, causing a facility outbreak.
As a result of the above, nursing home patients will continue to wrongfully die from coronavirus.
Our nursing home neglect attorneys can help your family pick up the pieces after a coronavirus death inside a facility. Our law firm brings unique expertise, compassion and understanding when dealing with this novel kind of case.
Our lawyers focus their practice on nursing home negligence cases. We have successfully handled thousands of nursing home infection lawsuits. If your loved one developed coronavirus inside a nursing home or assisted living facility, demand Senior Justice. We can help you investigate a potential COVID19 lawsuit against the nursing facility.
Contact Senior Justice Law Firm anytime, day or night. There is no charge to you unless we win your case, and a potential case consultation is free.
Call us toll-free at 1-888-375-9998 or chat with us using the live chat feature. Let our family help yours through this trying chapter.
« Previous PostNext Post »