Articles Posted in Nursing Home Abuse

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I would like to start off by wishing all of our proud and deserving Georgia veterans a happy and healthy 4th of July, or more appropriately, Happy Independence Day. Without these brave men and woman, we could not celebrate this day. Any celebration would not be complete without acknowledging their heroic efforts and monumental sacrifices in all of our wars and “police actions.”

I am a proud Army veteran. I joined the army right out of high school and completed my enlistment prior to starting college. I signed up for a two year enlistment. I proudly served my country as a Military Policeman. But, fortunately for me, the Army gave me so much; much, much more than I gave back. In exchange for two short years of service, I received the opportunity to go to college and to make something of myself. After all, I was able to complete my Army tour and finish college in about the same time it took to simply go to college. However, not all of our veterans are as fortunate. Of course, too many have given the ultimate sacrifice while defending our Country, their lives. Many have suffered crippling physical injuries while defending our Country. Many more have suffered horrific emotional injuries from the ravages of war. Clearly, these worthy veterans gave much more to our Country than they received. We owe them our deepest gratitude. What made me think of this was a recent visit I had with a great American and staunch Veteran Advocate, Marshall Berman.

A few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of hosting a small brunch for Marshall and his family. Marshall is a special person. You see, he cares a lot about other people, and one of his life-long goals is to help our military veterans. He has done great things for our veterans in the past. For instance, while he worked at the Georgia Department of Labor, Marshall was instrumental in improving the lives of our south Georgia military veterans by making it more convenient for them to receive the medical and employment-related services many of them so dearly needed.

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Kudos to the federal government for implementing a simplified approach to evaluating nursing homes. Unfortunately, the streamlined ratings expose Georgia’s nursing homes for being inadequately staffed. According to a recent U.S. News and World Report Article, Georgia lags behind every other state except Louisiana in the percentage of nursing homes in the state that are adequately staffed and properly caring for patients and inadequate staffing and lack of proper staff training are two of the biggest contributors to nursing home malpractice that I am aware of.

This is not surprising, considering the horrific accounts of neglect, abuse and mistreatment that are reported about many Georgia nursing homes, mental institutions and treatment facilities. Not only is there not enough staff to care for the residents, many times the staff members that are on duty do not possess the training and skills to properly carry out their duties. This leads to inattentiveness, mistakes and, ultimately, inadequate care. Nursing home residents deserve better than this. They are our loved ones. They have worked their entire lives and, at this stage of their life, they deserve to be cared for adequately and to be treated with dignity and compassion at all times (not just when family and friends are in their room visiting). I have lobbied for a law that would require all nursing homes to have video-tape surveillance in all general areas so that anyone can see the care and treatment being recieved by the residents at all times. This would be a huge advancement and would provide a good bit of transparency to the nursing home industry. Of course, the nursing home industry wants not part of this. Why? Because it would provide accountability for much of the sub-standard care that is provided in nursing homes today.

Nursing home lawsuits involve the same legal standards as most other personal injury cases: Duty, breach, causation and damages. In order to prevail, the plaintiff in a nursing home abuse lawsuit must show that the nursing home owed the plaintiff a duty, that the duty was breached; and that the breach caused the damages that the plaintiff is complaining of in the lawsuit. The difference in nursing home cases, is that the plaintiff must submit an affidavit with the original complaint from an expert opining that at least one act of malpractice has occurred and providing the basis for that opinion.

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