Medical Neglect in Maryland Nursing Homes
The National Center on Elder Abuse estimates that two to five million elderly Americans suffer from some form of elder abuse each year. One study of 2,000 nursing home residents showed that 95 percent had been neglected or seen another resident neglected. A smaller but nonetheless unacceptable number of 44 percent said they had been abused.
Elders with dementia are thought to be at greater risk of abuse and neglect than those of the general elderly population. Almost half of people over age 85 have Alzheimer’s disease or some other form of dementia, and a 2010 study found that 47 percent of participants with dementia said they had been mistreated by their caregivers.
Perhaps more than any service they provide, nursing homes and assisted living facilities are expected to give good medical care to their residents. Many times, families only make the heartbreaking choice to put their loved one in a nursing home when that individual’s unique medical needs become more than the average person can handle. Unfortunately, some facilities fail to provide their patients with even the most basic medical needs.
Your Legal Options in Maryland
If you believe that a nursing home failed to provide your loved one with adequate attention, prevention, or medication for medical concerns, contact the Baltimore, MD nursing home medical negligence lawyers at the Law Offices of Roger S. Weinberg, LLC, to discuss holding the facility and its staff responsible (see also: Who Can Be Held Liable).
Our lawyers have successfully handled countless nursing home abuse and neglect cases, and we know how important it is that your loved one be treated with proper medical care and respect. We are prepared to thoroughly investigate the situation and recover fair reimbursement for the injury. Contact us today to talk about your case. Call 410-825-3161 or fill out this online form.
Nursing Home Neglect vs. Nursing Home Abuse
While the terms “neglect” and “abuse” are often used interchangeably, they are actually quite different in the eyes of the law. Nursing home medical neglect involves a breach of duty or substandard care that results in harm to the patient. Nursing home medical abuse implies that the harm was specifically intended. Medical neglect happens when proper medical care is withheld, which can be the responsibility of an unskilled worker whose sole job is to help residents through daily activities. Often overworked and underpaid, these employees are particularly susceptible to neglecting their patients.
A person suffering from neglect may not show the obvious signs that are exhibited by a person who has been physically neglected or abused, but there are some things you can look for if you suspect neglect:
- Bedsores or pressure sores
- Unexplained falls or injuries
- Bruises, cuts or bleeding
- Signs of dehydration: weakness, dizziness, sunken eyes, dry skin
- Signs of malnourishment: weakness, fatigue, weight loss, poor wound healing
- Changes in behavior
- Changes in personal hygiene.
Be observant and ask questions when you are visiting a loved one in a nursing home. Don’t hesitate to point out something you think may be wrong. Talk to other residents and the Director of Nursing and the home administrator. Not all elderly residents have frequent, regular visitors, so if you suspect neglect is occurring, consider reporting it. Your advocacy could mean the difference between life and death for an isolated, elderly patient.
Neglect Is a Crime
It’s a crime in Maryland for anyone responsible for the care of a vulnerable adult to neglect or abuse that person. Felony charges can be brought for cases involving sexual abuse, serious harm, or the death of a vulnerable adult. This crime of first degree neglect is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Any other instance of abuse or neglect not meeting the definition of first degree can be prosecuted as misdemeanor abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult in the second degree.
Conviction of this charge is punishable by up to five years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.
Nursing homes in Maryland operate under state and federal laws intended to ensure that residents are treated humanely. Medical care and services must be provided as needed or requested. These protections are detailed in the “Residents’ Bill of Rights” that are legally required to be displayed in nursing homes and care facilities.
Talk to One of Our Central MD Medical Neglect Attorneys
If you have any concerns, contact the medical mistreatment attorneys at the Law Offices of Roger S. Weinberg, LLC, by calling 1-866-529-5839 or filling out this form. We’ll walk you through the process of filing a report with the proper authorities. Then we’ll discuss any legal action that can be taken to obtain compensation for the damages sustained by the elderly patient in connection with their neglect, including pain and suffering. By limiting our practice to just a few areas of the law, we can concentrate on doing the best job possible for our clients. Put our decades of experience to work for you.