Nursing homes are meant to be places of safety and comfort for elderly adults, meaning they should feel assured at all times that they are receiving proper medical care, including specialized medical treatment when needed. It is natural for everyone to require more medical attention as they age. We trust that when we place our elderly loved ones in these homes that they will receive just as much care and attention from their healthcare providers as they would from their own family, if not more. Further, we trust that the physicians and nurses who treat our loved ones are adequately trained and proceed with the highest degree of skill and caution.
However, unfortunately, physicians and nurses do make mistakes. Due to the frail physical nature of many nursing home residents, these mistakes could lead to unwanted diseases that can ultimately cost them their lives. Medical malpractice is a complex branch of personal injury law whereby injured patients can recover against doctors, nurses, or medical facilities for their action or inaction in causing the patients’ injuries. In order to prevail on a medical malpractice claim, the injured party must prove that the healthcare provider breached the relevant standard(s) of care while treating or diagnosing him or her. Within the context of the medical field, the standard of care can comprise accepted practices and procedures of the medical community within a medical provider’s geographic area when treating similar patients with similar medical histories.
In order to recover compensation, just like in all personal injury claims, the injured party must prove that the breach of the standard of care caused his or her injuries. Common types of medical malpractice claims within the context of nursing homes can include misdiagnosis, prescription errors, ignoring patients’ medical needs, or an abuse of medical restraints. Qualified expert witnesses can review medical records and provide testimony needed to meet the plaintiff’s legal burden of proof in court.