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The Intersection of Nursing Home Abuse and Medical Malpractice


Nursing home facilities are more than places where elderly people can live and be assisted with daily tasks. A high percentage of nursing home residents have some kind of medical condition, and rely on care providers to administer medication or meet their other health-related needs. The dual responsibility of nursing home staff as caregivers and medical professionals can lead to an intersection between abuse cases and medical malpractice if a facility’s employees are negligent.

Cases of medical nursing home abuse slightly differ from the typical definition of medical malpractice because there is a different standard of care that doctors must hold themselves to, compared to nursing home staff. Doctors, generally, are responsible for determining how a patient will be treated, while facility staff is responsible for administering that treatment. Care providers who ignore a doctor’s directions, administer their own type of treatment, or otherwise neglect a patient’s medical needs endanger the people in their care.

Common types of medical abuse that happen in nursing homes include:

  • Medication errors
  • Medical neglect
  • Providing unnecessary treatment
  • Failure to transfer a patient to a hospital or other, more specialized facility
  • Inadequate hygiene
  • Misdiagnosis
  • Hiding medical concerns from patients and family members

Any unusual changes in a patient’s health or treatment could be signs of medical abuse and neglect. Symptoms may appear as a worsening of an existing condition, the development of new conditions, infections, or allergic reactions. It is important to closely monitor an elderly loved one’s medical care and development in order to identify any abnormalities.

Nursing home patients are very vulnerable to mistreatment. At Pierce, Sloan, Kennedy & Early LLC, our attorneys are dedicated to providing representation to elderly people who are unable to defend themselves. Contact us if someone you love was abused or neglected while living in a nursing home.

To schedule a free consultation, complete our contact form or call (843) 968-0886.
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