Fort Lauderdale Nursing Home Neglect Attorneys

Sepsis Can Be an Undiagnosed Cause of Death – Fort Lauderdale Nursing Home Neglect Attorneys

Sepsis is a serious, potentially fatal infection that causes more fatalities in the U.S. than heart attacks. A recent study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that almost two thirds of the total 258,000 annual deaths were not diagnosed in time by doctors and nurses. In some cases, this could be considered medical negligence.

There have been instances where people have died in a hospital or nursing home and their family is not told the truth about the cause of death. Many times people are left to assume that it was just “old age” but in truth it was a preventable issue: sepsis.

A thorough article about sepsis was published last year in U.S. News and World Report.

Early Detection of Sepsis is key to Recovery

According to the CDC, while delayed diagnosis sepsis can increase the risk of mortality, early detection can save lives. If the condition is diagnosed within six hours, the prognosis is pretty good. Another study has shown that the chances decrease over by 7 percent for each hour it goes untreated. The chances become bleak with every hour that the condition is left untreated.

Sepsis is Difficult to Diagnose

One reason that many cases of sepsis go undiagnosed and untreated is that there is no reliable test for it. Also, each patient experiences different symptoms. While there are some hospitals that have found ways to detect and prevent sepsis at an early stage, there are many others that still lack in this.

Have someone close to you been a victim of delayed sepsis diagnosis?

Fort Lauderdale Nursing Home Neglect Attorneys

Sepsis is a potentially fatal condition if not detected and treated in time. Also, it is possible to prevent, detect and manage the condition. If you or someone close to you has suffered from complications or fatality as a result of delayed diagnosis of sepsis, you have the right to pursue compensation for all the losses you have suffered.

The best thing to do if you suspect sepsis may have contributed to the deteriorating condition of a loved one, or their death, you may call us and arrange a confidential consultation. We can be reached at 954-356-0006.

Fort Lauderdale Nursing Home Neglect Attorneys


Nursing Home Negligence

Nursing Home Negligence and Abuse in South Florida

Nursing homes and other care facilities are facing challenges today that squeeze their budgets and sometimes cause cutbacks in quality of care. Some of the issues are:

  • A nationwide shortage of licensed care givers.
  • More people are living longer, which means demand is higher.
  • Insurance re-imbursements are lower and harder to get.
  • Medicare and Medicaid have cut payments.

Still, there is never any excuse for neglect or abuse.

The tragedy that occurred in Hollywood in September seemed to be related to the hurricane, but the investigations will be lengthy and the truth will take some time to emerge. Authorities are now ruling 12 of the 14 deaths to be homicides.

Negligence occurs when a care taker is not fulfilling their duty to a resident or patient. It includes physical neglect (deprived bathing methods, lack of toileting and wrong body positioning), medical neglect (lack of medical care, poor access to medical aid and more) and proper assisting (Lack of assistance to the resident in eating, drinking, avoiding cries for help and more).

Every elderly person or patient who is a resident of a care facility deserves competent care. Here are some unacceptable and often illegal situations that develop in some facilities:

BEDSORES – Bedsores are preventable injuries that can lead to serious, and sometimes fatal, complications. Unfortunately, many nursing home employees are not properly trained to prevent, identify, and provide treatment for these dangerous conditions.

FALLS AND FRACTURES – Nursing homes owe a duty to ensure that their premises are safe, and to provide adequate supervision for their residents. Unfortunately, they often fail to meet these obligations. Falls and fractures are often grounds for seeking financial compensation.

MALNUTRITION – Malnourishment is a dangerous health condition that can also put nursing home residents at greater risk for other illnesses and injuries. With proper care and supervision, residents should not suffer from malnutrition.

WRONGFUL DEATH – If your loved one died in a nursing home and you suspect fault on the part of the home’s staff or administrators, it is important that you speak with an attorney as soon as possible.

WRONGFUL OR INAPPROPRIATE CARE – Any form of wrongful or inappropriate care that leads to illness or injury may be grounds for filing a lawsuit against a nursing home. Sometimes, this is your only option for getting the home’s attention and recovering the money you need to pay your bills and make up for your other losses.

MEDICATION ERRORS – Medication errors such as over dose, under dose, and confusing medications can lead to life-threatening situations.

South Florida Nursing Home Negligence Attorneys

There are many other dangerous situations that develop in nursing homes and other care facilities. If you believe a family member or other person is not being properly cared for, or abused, call 800-96-ABUSE and report what you know. Then call us at 954-356-0006 and we will arrange a confidential consultation. If there is evidence of negligence or abuse we may be able to help you receive compensation for injuries, and pain and suffering.


Nursing Home Surveillance: Should You Be Able to Spy on Your Grandma’s Caretakers?

People face the future in different ways, but the thought of having someone care for us when we are old is daunting to most. We all hope that family will be the closest and best choice for care, but when that is not an option we look to nursing homes for quality care.

The law firm of Lazarus and Lazarus has been protecting the rights of nursing home residents since 1991 with professional, caring legal representation when needed to address abuse.

In this high-tech era where cameras seem to be everywhere, there are laws and regulations regarding the placement of cameras in patient rooms at nursing homes to allow monitoring of conditions. These laws are changing, as reported by

By Jenni Bergal – Over the years, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has consistently heard “horror stories” about the abuse or neglect of nursing home residents. Now she is trying to bring such cruelty out of the shadows and into clear view.

Madigan’s office is drafting legislation, likely to be introduced in 2015, which would allow Illinois nursing home residents and their families to place cameras in their rooms to help protect them.

“Residents and family members should have the option, for their own peace of mind, to monitor what is taking place,” said Madigan. “If something goes wrong, you can see what actually happened.”

If the measure is approved, Illinois would join at least four other states-New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Washington-that have laws or regulations allowing residents to maintain cameras in their rooms. In Maryland, cameras can be placed in a resident’s room, but only if the facility permits them, according to state guidelines. (Florida has no such allowances.) Full story @
If you know someone who may be the victim of nursing home abuse, the law firm of Lazarus and Lazarus is eminently qualified to meet with you, discuss and investigate your case, and proceed with appropriate action. With offices in Fort Lauderdale, Weston, and Orlando, the experts at Lazarus and Lazarus can handle a case anywhere in the state of Florida. Call 954-356-0006 to arrange a consultation.

Edited by Jalaize Kukler

Florida Nursing Home Caregivers Charged With Abuse

1160103_prescription_drugs_2%20sxchu.jpgIn January, a certified nursing assistant (CNA) was arrested in Tampa after she allegedly slapped a 91-year-old dementia patient at the Lake Villas Health Care Center. 27-year-old Vanessa Lashawn Robinson was charged with felony abuse of the elderly for allegedly slapping a patient over and over with her open hand. According to law enforcement, police were called after a witness saw the 91-year-old attempting to protect herself from being struck by Robinson. The CNA was later released after she posted a $2,000 bond.

The following month, a New Smyrna Beach nurse was charged with abuse, neglect, and fraud for reportedly administering an incorrect drug to a patient at a Daytona Beach nursing home. 55-year-old Kathleen Pimental is accused of withholding a disabled patient’s painkiller, oxycodone, and instead administering the anti-psychotic drug Risperdal. The Florida Attorney General’s Medicare Control Fraud Unit conducted an investigation after a patient complained of severe stomach pain and blisters associated with medication administered by nurse Pimental.

Pimental is accused of obtaining a controlled substance through misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, or subterfuge. She is also accused of abusing and neglecting a disabled adult. Following her arrest, the Manor on the Green nursing home employee was later released from the Volusia County Branch Jail.

These two cases are unfortunate and poignant examples of nursing home abuse. In the State of Florida, a nursing home facility is required to provide a certain level of care to every patient. When a nursing home or its employees fail to provide proper care, the facility may be in violation of the patient’s bill of rights. If a nursing home resident is hurt or dies as a result of the facility’s negligence or abuse, family members of a patient may file a nursing home liability lawsuit. Although most nursing home abuse cases result from negligence, they may arise from an employee’s failure to administer the correct medications, failure to provide adequate medical care, emotional distress, failure to provide adequate food, and even physical or sexual abuse.

Residents who are incapacitated or who are otherwise unable to report mistreatment are especially at risk for abuse in Florida nursing homes. Unfortunately, the signs of nursing home abuse can be difficult to detect. If your friend or family member is a resident in a Florida nursing home, it is important to maintain regular contact with both your loved one and the nursing home employees who are tasked with your loved one’s care. If you believe a nursing home resident has been a victim of abuse or neglect, it is vital for you to report your concerns. A skilled Florida nursing home abuse attorney can help you protect your friend or loved one’s rights.
Read more “Florida Nursing Home Caregivers Charged With Abuse”

Pinellas County Jury Awards Record $200 Million Verdict Over Nursing Home Death

Gavel%20-%20sxchu%20website.jpgThis month, a Florida jury awarded $200 million to the family of a nursing home resident who died in 2004 at the Pinellas Park Care and Rehabilitation Center. 92-year-old Elvira Nunziata was strapped in a wheelchair when she disappeared from a group of residents and made her way to an emergency exit stairwell. It allegedly took nursing home staff more than one hour to notice she was missing. Nunziata was found at the bottom of the stairwell sill in her wheelchair. Paramedics were called, but she died not long after they arrived at the facility.

Nunziata’s son filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Pinellas County against Trans Health Management Inc., the company who operated Pinellas Park Care and Rehabilitation Center at the time of her death. According to the lawsuit, Nunziata lived at the facility for more than one year before her death. At trial, her son alleged the nursing home’s staff was aware Nunziata suffered from dementia and was prone to wandering. Nunziata purportedly suffered previous injuries which resulted from falls at the home. Former caregivers also stated under oath that the facility was understaffed and employees frequently disabled stairwell alarms. At the time of Nunziata’s death, the nursing home was under investigation for several abuse complaints and had a history of deficiency citations.

The attorney representing Nunziata’s son asked the jury to send a message to the nursing home and make them pay for the unacceptable care she received. After deliberating for less than an hour, the jury awarded Nunziata’s estate $60 million in compensatory damages and $140 million in punitive damages. This is one of the largest nursing home liability awards ever made by a Florida jury. Unfortunately, Trans Health Management Inc., is no longer in business and its parent company, Trans Health, Inc., is currently in receivership in the Maryland.

A nursing home or other medical care facility is required to provide each patient with a certain level of care. When a nursing home fails to provide that level of care, they may be in violation of the patient’s bill of rights. If a resident is hurt or dies as a result of a care facility’s negligence or abuse, the patient’s family may file a nursing home liability lawsuit. Most care facility abuse cases result from negligence on the part of the nursing home. Nursing home liability cases may arise from a facility’s failure to administer the correct medications, failure to provide adequate medical care, failure to provide adequate food, emotional distress, and even sexual abuse.
Read more “Pinellas County Jury Awards Record $200 Million Verdict Over Nursing Home Death”

Florida Agencies, Administrators respond to Nursing Home Negligence


Last month, we posted several blogs about the growth of nursing home abuse in South Florida. After an investigative report by the Miami Herald, lawmakers and government agencies took notice of the problems in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities (ALFs) throughout Florida. In response to these findings, the state is cracking down on violators.

The Agency for Health Care Administration has taken several measures to put an end to violations by nursing homes and ALFs. Governor Rick Scott announced that the agency imposed $125,000 in sanctions to 46 nursing home abusers. It is also taking away thousands in tax dollars from a chain of Tampa ALFs.

As the Miami Herald reported, three chains of Mapleway Communities will no longer be able to bill for their services under Medicaid; a harsh penalty which is available to the state under Florida law. This will be a big blow to the ALF chain, since facilities such as these will have to resort to making residents pay out of pocket or through private insurance. The governor’s office also noted, according to the Herald, that its website will provide more updated information on ALFs and nursing homes.

We hope that the actions by our state will serve as a wake-up call to offenders. As attorneys, we will continue to do our part to keep you informed of the developments in battling nursing home negligence and fight for the rights of victims of abuse.

Florida Lawmakers Looking to take Action on Nursing Home Negligence


Last week, we posted about an investigation in May by the Miami Herald on the deplorable state of nursing homes and assisted-living facilities in South Florida and throughout the state. Now it seems that the current state of these facilities has caught the attention of two of Florida’s lawmakers.

The Herald reported that Florida Senator and Senate minority leader Chris Smith, after an inspection of Briarwood Manor in Lauderhill, contacted senator Ronda Storms with plans to join forces with other lawmakers to put a stop to the violations throughout Florida’s nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.

Smith, along with the Department of Children and Families, the Attorney General’s Office, the Agency for Health Care and Administration and several other agencies, swept through four facilities in the Cannon Point in Lauderhill, which is home to the highest concentration of assisted-living facilities in Florida. Some of the findings at these facilities, including Briarwood Manor and Shalom Manor, included roach and rodent infestations in two of the facilities, broken furniture, and a 55-year-old man with an untreated swollen leg.

According to the Herald, Smith noted that he never knew that these facilities posed such a threat until the Herald’s investigation. He was also upset to learn that Briarwood gets hundreds of thousands of dollars to house its residents and that some of the tax dollars meant for residents were not being appropriated to them.

We applaud the steps that our lawmakers are taking to ensure the safety of our senior citizens. We hope that our Legislature and our law enforcement continue to work together to crack down on nursing home neglect and abuse. As attorneys, we will also do our part to ensure that the rights of the victims of these heinous acts are protected.

Nursing Home Negligence: A Growing Concern in Florida


We have all seen the stereotypical scenario in movies, TV, and in real life: after years of working up north, a retired couple moves to Florida to spend their golden years on golf courses and sandy beaches. South Florida is a great place to live, vacation and retire. Many of us have parents and grandparents who, after some time, require the care and comfort of nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.

Nursing home abuse has been a hot topic for exposés around the country and, as the Orlando Sentinel and the Miami Herald reported last month, it is a growing concern in Florida. Both the Sentinel and the Herald highlighted several incidents of nursing home abuse, including: a 71-year-old in South Florida who died from burns in a bathtub; a 75-year-old priest with dementia in Pinellas county who wandered off unsupervised and was found in a lake with bodily injuries from alligators; and an assisted-living facility owner in the Panhandle who threatened residents with a stick and refused them food and drugs. Both the Sentinel and the Miami Herald also note recent attempts by Florida legislature to impose restrictions on nursing home lawsuits and restrictions on Florida’s nursing home watchdogs. (Note: the Herald also includes a 3-part video on its investigation).

The Herald’s 3-part series on its investigation – which spanned one year and included examination of state inspections, reports and files, as well as interviews with operators and residents – noted that the “Agency for Health Care Administration, which oversees the state’s 2,850 assisted-living facilities, has failed to monitor shoddy operators, investigate dangerous practices or shut down the worst offenders.” The findings were quite appalling: (1) regulators could have shut down 70 facilities who committed violations, but only closed 7; (2) facilities are frequently found in violation for using restraints (tranquilizers, ropes, closets), but not punished; and (3) almost once a month, residents die from neglect, but arrests are rarely made.

Choosing the appropriate nursing home facility is a very difficult task. Though most rely on reviews and ratings of a facility, word of mouth and reputation, you can never be too careful when entrusting your loved ones to the care of a nursing home. As attorneys, we feel it is our privilege and our duty to represent those who have been abused or neglected by nursing homes. If you or a loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse, consult with a Florida nursing home attorney today.

Florida House Passing Bills to reform Medical Malpractice, Healthcare Lawsuits


The Florida House of Representatives has been busy this month, with several bills to that, if made into laws, will affect medical malpractice cases. The Orlando Sentinel and Bloomberg Businessweek reported on the bills passed this session which may be detrimental to victims of negligence and medical malpractice.

One bill (HB 479) restricts the use of expert witnesses by requiring certificates for out-of-state experts to provide expert testimony. Another bill (HB 661) places a $300,000 cap for pain and suffering damages for wrongful death claims in nursing home cases.

According to Businessweek, proponents applaud these efforts to make Florida more pro-business and cut unnecessary costs associated with malpractice, while critics fear that plaintiffs’ claims will be faced with more barriers to relief for their damages. The Orlando Sentinel noted that while supporters of these bills note that Florida has faced difficult times with recruiting and retaining physicians, especially with higher premiums in Florida compared to most states, studies showed that the number of malpractice lawsuits and payouts in 2009 dropped since 2004 and the sizeable uninsured population and lack of residency-training programs in Florida were primary factors for the lack of physicians.

Nevertheless, changes are being made which will affect the way lawsuits are handled. Attorneys are constantly faced with adapting to new statutes and case precedent, creating new strategies to properly approach every case, especially in the wake of changing governance. We will continue to educate you, as well as ourselves, on new developments and changes to our legislation, so that we can continue to serve you in an intelligent and ethical manner.

End of Life Issues Raise Malpractice Questions

Perhaps nowhere more than in the state of Florida, end-of-life considerations for elderly or infirmed people are at the forefront in the medical community. CBS News recently reported that end-of-life procedures may actually cause more pain and suffering in the final weeks leading to death. More than 80% of the annual deaths in the U.S. are attributed to long-term diseases, such as cancer, heart failure and Alzheimer’s. In the final weeks of life, the vast majority of patients and their doctors attempt radical or intensive treatments in an effort to save their lives through chemotherapy, radiation or experimental procedures.

According to the CBS News article published June 28, 2010, these treatments can take a drastic toll on the body, causing more pain in the last days of life than the disease would have likely caused if left untreated in many cases. In turn, these experiences can lead families of loved ones to sue doctors and hospitals for malpractice when treatments don’t work or cause increased suffering prior to death.

Determining Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice can be tricky to prove. Just because a treatment doesn’t work doesn’t mean that it was administered incorrectly or with negligence. However, attempting radical procedures recklessly or with knowledge of possible harmful interactions can sometimes be grounds for malpractice. It’s important to work with an experienced Florida medical malpractice attorney to determine what the best course of action is for your case.