Nursing Home Infection Claims
Compassionate Elder Abuse Lawyer for Patients in Nursing Homes & Assisted Living Facilities in Long Beach, Tustin, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Santa Ana & Nearby Areas in Southern California.
The risk of infection in nursing homes is astonishingly high. An average of 27% of nursing home patients carry not only illnesses, but also drug-resistant bacterial infections. These supposedly healthy homes can in fact be hotbeds of disease. Residents share all sorts of things: food, water, air, medical supplies, and caregivers. This makes it easy to transmit infections and other diseases.
What is the nursing home’s duty in this regard? If a patient contracts an infection while in a nursing home, is the facility responsible? If the infection could have be prevented with “reasonable” care, the answer is probably YES.
Infections Caused by Neglect
Some infections in the elderly population housed in nursing homes are more likely from neglect. If your loved one comes down with one of these conditions, it is worth investigating further:
- Urinary tract infections: These bacterial infections present themselves in elderly patients who are dehydrated, who don’t get enough opportunities to use the toilet, or who are left wearing soaked undergarments for extended periods of time.
- Respiratory tract infections: Viruses or bacteria that attack the breathing mechanisms of patients are commonly spread in nursing homes. They include influenza, pneumonia, tuberculosis, whooping cough, and more.
- Influenza: The flu can travel readily around close quarters. The reality is that proper immunization, handwashing, and quarantine procedures can prohibit the spread of this disease that is particularly challenging for the elderly.
- Group A strep: For example, a Streptococcus pyogenes outbreak in a North Carolina nursing home affected 20% of residents, killing several of them. Strep can range from a mild skin infection to a life-threatening disease that attacks the body’s systems.
- Skin infections: Pressure sores (also known as “bedsores”) and other skin infections can be caused by leaving elderly patients in the same position for an extended time. They can easily worsen and threaten the health and well-being of the patient.
Dietary and digestive issues are often caused by poor care – and leave patients at risk of worse infections. Malnutrition and dehydration are common symptoms of neglect. Not having enough nutrition or fluids can leave patients weak and susceptible. There are also other digestive issues, such as contagious illnesses, that can be spread by unsanitary conditions and caregivers’ poor handwashing technique.
What Are My Rights If I Suspect Neglect?
Nursing home neglect is an actionable tort. What this means is that the nursing home is legally (as well as morally and ethically) responsible for the actions of its staff and for the care of its patients. If the practices of employees result in harm to the patients, the injured patients and their family members may file a lawsuit. Whether that lawsuit would be criminal or civil depends on the individual facts and circumstances of each case.
If your elderly family member suffered neglect in a nursing home and was diagnosed with an infection, reach out to Siegel Law at 562-645-4145 to discuss your senior’s legal rights and potential compensation.