Friday, March 6, 2015

Keating Law Offices Files Lawsuit Against South Side Nursing Home For Fall After Resident Unnecessarily Drugged

The daughter of a former resident of a Chicago’s South Side nursing home has retained Keating Law Offices to investigate the negligence of the facility's medical and nursing staff. The former resident suffered a non-displaced left superior orbital wall fracture in her face after falling out of bed, despite nurses knowing the resident was a “fall risk.”

On September 10, 2013, the nursing home allegedly failed to respond to the resident’s bed alarm in a timely manner, allowing her to walk all the way to the opposite side of her room, where she then struck her head on a roommate’s bedrail. The resident was found lying unresponsive on the floor, away from her own bed. All of this took place before the nursing staff responded to the resident’s bed alarm.

Upon arrival of Chicago Fire Department paramedics that day in September 2013, it was discovered that the nursing home resident had been heavily sedated - unnecessarily - by the staff. The resident’s unresponsiveness was due to sedatives or pain killers allegedly administered by the nurses. As soon as the CFD paramedics administered two doses of an opioid antagonist, the resident became responsive and aware of her surroundings. An opioid antagonist is used by medical professionals to combat the effects of opiates, such as morphine.

According to Federal laws (Section 483.25 of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) Regulations), which changed federal standards for nursing home care, every nursing home must provide the appropriate care and services to maintain resident physical, mental, and psychological well-being at the highest practicable level.

Nursing homes must also train nursing staff to identify and assist with residents who are at “high risk” for falling within the facility. If a resident’s chart indicates that he or she is a “fall risk,” a properly trained nurse can assist the resident with transfers to prevent falls and injury.  
Section 45/2-106.1 of the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act also states that “a resident shall not be given unnecessary drugs.” Under this Illinois law, “an ‘unnecessary drug’ is any drug used in an excessive dose, including in duplicative therapy; for excessive duration; without adequate monitoring; without adequate indications for its use; or in the presence of adverse consequences that indicate the drugs should be reduced or discontinued.”

All nursing homes have a duty to ensure that their residents do not receive unnecessary or excessive amounts of prescription drugs, particularly sedatives or opiates. The failure of a nursing home and its staff to prevent unnecessary sedation of residents may result in serious bodily injury or death.

If you believe that you or a loved one have been the victim of neglect due to improper or inadequate medical care by a nursing home, please contact an experienced Chicago nursing home neglect attorney to evaluate your case.

If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect, please contact Illinois Nursing Home Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or All initial consultations are confidential and free.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Family of Nursing Home Resident Who Suffered Fractured Leg Receives Financial Settlement

The Chicago Nursing Home Attorneys at Keating Law Offices have successfully obtained a settlement on behalf of a former resident of a west suburban nursing home. The resident suffered a severe fracture in his femur while at the nursing home. The family of the resident suspected it was from a fall, but representatives of the nursing home denied that any incident ever occurred and even went so far as to claim the family may have been responsible for the fall. Our nursing home attorneys were able to uncover evidence in a lawsuit against the nursing home that conclusively showed that the injuries occurred on their watch.

The incident took place at a nursing home in the western suburbs of Illinois in August 2011. The claim alleged that the elderly resident was injured as a result of the nursing home’s failure to provide him with proper care. The lawsuit alleged that the leg injury actually occurred when nursing home staff members dropped him while transferring him onto a lift. As a result, the resident was hospitalized on two different occasions to treat the fracture as well as significant swelling in his left knee and leg.

It was also discovered that after the resident suffered this excruciating injury, the nursing home staff members then failed to provide him with his prescription pain medicine. This failure obviously led to unnecessary pain and suffering for the resident.

Under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act (210 ILCS 45/1-101 (2011)) all nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are required to treat their residents with the same level of care that a reasonably careful nursing home or facility would have used in the same situation. When the nursing home fails to treat their residents with a reasonable amount of care, as the nursing home in this case was alleged to have done, it may be liable as was the situation here.

Additionally, when the nursing home staff fails to provide proper care to its residents which ultimately results in injuries sustained, the nursing home might be in violation of the applicable provisions of the Code of Federal Regulations and the Illinois Administrative Code. According to Section 3-601 of the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act, “the owner and licensee are liable to a resident for any intentional or negligent act or omission of their agents or employees which injures a resident.” 210 ILCS 45/3-601. The provision makes the nursing home liable for all negligent acts or omissions committed by its staff members because a reasonably well-qualified nursing staff member should be able to transfer its residents without causing injuries.

Under Section 1-117 of the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act, “neglect” means a facility’s failure to provide, or willful withholding of, adequate medical care, mental health treatment, psychiatric rehabilitation, personal care, or assistance with activities of daily living that is necessary to avoid physical harm, mental anguish, or mental illness of a resident. 210 ILCS 45/1-117. As alleged here, the nursing home staff members’ failure to provide a resident with pain medication falls within the definition of “neglect” because it can result in physical harm and mental anguish for said resident.

Ultimately, the nursing home negligence and abuse attorney at Keating Law Offices were able to present overwhelming evidence that the injury occurred at the nursing home and that the resident's pain and suffering was increased by the failures to administer the pain medication. Ultimately, justice was obtained for this victim of nursing home negligence and abuse.

Keating Law Offices has successfully obtained settlements on behalf of victims of nursing home abuse. Due to the terms of the settlement agreement between the resident and the nursing home, the identity of the parties and further details are confidential. If you or a loved one have suffered from a fractured leg or have had your medication improperly withheld in an Illinois nursing home, contact an experienced Chicago nursing home neglect attorney to evaluate your case.