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Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers
Nursing homes have a solemn duty to safeguard and care for the sick, vulnerable, infirm and elderly who are entrusted to their care. When that trust is breached, whether intentionally or negligently, the residential health care facility may be answerable to pay compensatory damages suffered as a result of such deprivation.
New York State has promulgated specific laws which codify the rights of patients in residential health care facilities such as a nursing home. A “private right” of action is created under Public Health Law Section 2801-d for deprivation of any right or benefit listed in Public Health Law 2803-c and facilities may be found liable for injuries suffered as a result of such deprivation of rights.
The list of rights are expansive. They include the following basic rights:
- The right to civil and religious liberties.
- The right to receive courteous, fair, and respectful care and treatment.
- The right to be free from mental and physical abuse and physical and chemical restraints except those restraints authorized in writing by a physician for a specified and limited period of time or are necessitated by an emergency in which case the restraint may only be applied by a qualified licensed nurse who shall set forth in writing the circumstances requiring the use of restraint and in the case of use of a chemical restraint a physician shall be consulted within twenty four hours.
- The right to have private communications and consultations with a physician, attorney and any other person.
- The right to present grievances on behalf of himself or others, and to join with other patients or individuals within or outside the facility to work for improvements, without fear of reprisals.
- The right to manage his or her own financial affairs and to receive a quarterly accounting of any personal transactions undertaken in his or her behalf by the facility during the period of time the patient has delegated such responsibilities to the facility.
- The right to receive adequate and appropriate medical care.
- The right to be fully informed of his or her medical condition.
- The right to be fully informed of any proposed treatment unless medically contraindicated and the right to refuse medication and treatment after being fully informed of and understanding the consequences of such action.
- The right of privacy in treatment and in caring for personal needs.
- The right to receive kosher food products.
- The right to receive halal food products.
Unfortunately, many residential health care facilities violate the rights of residents. The law affords the residents and patients protection in the form of the right to bring suit for damages both under the New York State statutes and other relevant laws.
Drug Abuse – Chemical Restraints
Abuse and maltreatment may come in many forms. Sometimes the abuse or neglect is obvious. But there may be many other forms of abuse which are more insidious but no less pervasive. Abuse can take the form of the use of chemical restraint through the overmedication of residents with anti-psychotic drugs. This results in reducing the patient to prolonged period of sleep and lethargy
Abuse and neglect can also take the form of inattention which results in the development of pressure sores. These sores are painful and dangerous to the life of the patient.
Falls And Other Accidents Caused By Neglect
Of course, neglect and inattention can result in patient falls which can be devastating in the elderly and infirm.
The State of Elder Abuse and Neglect in New York
To establish the seriousness of the elder abuse problem in New York, state officials commissioned the New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence Study. This expansive effort, conducted by a team of subject matter experts, academic and researcher, uncovered some troubling information.
First, nursing home residents and other elderly New Yorkers self-report abuse at much higher rates than the number of cases actually referred into the state elder abuse service system. According to the study, the elder abuse rate is a stunning 24 times higher than the raw number of cases referred to social services, law enforcement and other legal authorities.
Second, while New York case data indicates that psychological abuse is the most common form of elder abuse, elderly New Yorkers self-report that financial abuse is actually occurring with greater frequency.
Finally, it was estimated that 260,000 New Yorkers suffer from some form of elder neglect or abuse each year.
So why the large gap between what the official numbers say and what people actually report? Much of it has to do with self-advocacy. Many older people are not capable of making an abuse charge, or may not feel empowered to advocate on their own behalf. They may fear retribution if the person who is involved in the abuse is a caregiver, or reticence if the abuser is a family member.
Yet the role of third parties is also an important consideration. Many people who are not mandated reporters may struggle with reporting abuse. They may feel it isn’t their place; they may be unsure whether what they’ve seen rises to the level of abuse; they may not know the law, or they may not know whom to contact for help.
How to Report Elder Abuse in New York
While there are laws on the books that offer protection from neglect and abuse, it is often up to a third-party to step forward and report it. While some people may believe that they may face liability should they lodge a complaint, state social services laws provide immunity to anyone who in “good faith” reports elder abuse. This immunity is not a license to utilize this reporting mechanism for illegitimate purposes such as making a knowingly false report to get even with someone or seek some other improper advantage. But is an immunity which attaches to good faith reports.
If you witness elder abuse or neglect, you can contact New York Protective Services for Adults at 1-800-342-3009. You can also contact authorities via 911 for cases where the victim is in imminent danger.
Finding the Right Nursing Home Neglect Attorney
The vulnerable require protection. The law can help level the playing field. It can serve as an important vehicle to protect and remediate the effects of abuse and neglect in nursing homes and other residential care facilities.
At the Frankel Law Firm, we’ve been tireless advocates for victims injury victims for more than four decades. These cases require an experienced hand, sensitivity and compassion — and that’s what we provide to all of our clients. No one should have to suffer, especially when they are at their most vulnerable.
At the Frankel Law Firm, we’ve been fighting for the rights of injured persons for more than 40 years. We take great pride in spending the time and resources to carefully prepare each case, while focusing on obtaining a full investigation, interviewing any witnesses, and meticulously analyzing relevant medical and other records. If you need help, don’t hesitate to reach out to us today at (212) 888-5100 or at www.Frankellawfirm.com.
All plaintiff personal injury cases which are accepted are on a contingency basis which means that there will be no attorneys fee unless successful. Given the coronavirus pandemic, we can arrange for a free consultation by Facetime, Zoom, Skype or WhatsApp. Please feel free to give us a call.
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