General Question

john65pennington's avatar

Should i contact an attorney in this situation?

Asked by john65pennington (29182points) September 27th, 2010

My mother is 92 and in a nursing home. she is deaf and a cripple. she cannot stand or walk. In June, 2010, my mother fell out of her wheelchair, at the nursing home, and hit her head. She was taken to an ER and released. We took no action against the nursing home, at that time. I asked the nursing home nurses to always keep my mother strapped into her wheelchair. On Sept. 25, 2010, my mother again fell out of her wheelchair. She landed facefirst on a concrete floor. Six stitches to close the cut on her head. She was not strapped in her wheelchair as requested in June. Qustion: Falling out of a wheelchair one time is deplorable for an elderly person. Falling out a second time with injuries, is unbelievable. I have legal Power of Attorney over my mother. Should i contact an attorney and file a lawsuit?

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8 Answers

Austinlad's avatar

My mother lives in an assisted living facility, and if this happened to once, let alone twice, I would not hesitate to seek legal counsel.

snowberry's avatar

Suggest moving her. She could die there! An attorney might be a good idea, but again it’s a bad idea to keep her there if you plan to move forward with a lawsuit. At the least contact the health department, or whatever appropriate agency.

tedd's avatar

If you have your request in writing you may have some kind of legal recourse. If you don’t its a he said she said thing. Although it still looks pretty stupid of the home that twice she’s fallen out of the chair.

Getting some legal advice couldn’t hurt anything.

john65pennington's avatar

Tedd, thanks. back in June, after the first fall, i requested my mother forever be strapped in her wheelchair. a nurse attempted to locate a waiver form for me to sign(law states a waiver has to be signed for a strap to be used in Tennessee). nurse could not locate one and i asked her to keep looking and notify me to sign. NEVER heard from them again. i asked at least three times for the strapping to two different nurses.

diavolobella's avatar

Yes, you should contact an attorney. You have legal recourse regardless of whether or not you asked them to strap your mother into the wheelchair. The facility was negligent in the care of your mother. It is well within the reasonable scope of proper medical care for your mother to be protected from falling out of her wheelchair in a nursing home. They are supposed to be experienced in dealing with elderly and infirm patients and to exercise proper supervision of their patients at all times. Also, since this had already occurred once, they were aware of the potential for it to happen again, furthering their negligence. You might have had to sign a waiver to permit them to strap her in, but you shouldn’t have to sign anything for them not to leave her unattended, which they obviously did.

I would certainly move your mother to another facility immediately, if possible and contact an attorney. Check with the local bar association for the names of elder care attorneys in town or contact the Legal Aid Society.

blueknight73's avatar

i work for a law firm, and heck yes you need to consult an attorney

alamo's avatar

Have you contacted the Director of Nursing at the facility or the Administrator? Give them a chance to fix the problem.
If they don’‘t give you the right answers,try your local ombudsman. They are a group that is a patient advocate. They will know your options and your and your moms rights and will “assist” your communication with the nursing home. I found this;
TN Commission on Aging and Disability
Andrew Jackson Bldg.
500 Deaderick Street, Ste. 825
Nashville, TN 37243
Tel: (615)741–2056
Fax: (615)741–3309
http://www.state.tn.us/comaging/ombudsman.html
I also found this as a possible way to contact TN ombudsman;http://www.tennessee.gov/comaging/ombudsman.html

You can call a complaint in to the state. I think its at the Department of Health site.

Nursing homes do have government regulations that limit how much they can“restrain” a patient. It sounds like they really screwed up when they didn’t follow up after the first incident.

My last thought is that talking to the facility, the ombusdsman, and/or the state complaint team will get your mom what she needs quicker than a lawyer. The facility has a moral and financial reason, the ombudsman has the power of “influence and knowledge” and the state can and will survey and stop paying the facility if warranted.

snowberry's avatar

John, As a police officer, I am certain you understand all about paper trails. Well my friend, you’re going to have to start a paper trail right now. Until you move her, have a notarized letter made up detailing the care you expect her to receive. Take two to the manager, have them sign one and keep it for yourself. Give them the other for their records. And next time, if someone can’t find the right form, come up with your own version until they get around to it. It just might help save her and you.

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